The Star Online
May 11, 2008 (Sunday)
KUALA LUMPUR: Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has come out with the strongest indication yet that he would be contesting one of the top two positions in the December party polls.
He said he had received a lot of feedback from “grassroots, advisers and proposers” who told him that it was time to move up the party hierarchy. As vice-president, “a move up” would mean a challenge for the deputy presidency or presidency.
The International Trade and Industry Minister, who hit out at the party's restrictive quota system which prevented members from contesting for posts without a specific number of nominations, said he would consider many things, including having to face “incumbents and the powers-that-be”, before making a decision.
”It is not an easy decision to make. But people say (to me): 'You have been vice-president for three terms. Now you have to look at something else'.
“I think I will make the right decision, hopefully, when the time comes,’’ he told The Star in an interview at his ministry office.
The 61-year-old Muhyiddin, who was first elected vice-president in 1993, described himself as an innovator and “someone who would not take things lying down.”
Referring to the party's quota system, he said: “It is undemocratic. I would like Umno to go back to where it was before ... allow whoever wants to contest to contest.
“One nomination, a proposer and seconder, like in the (general) election, that’s it. Why should the position of party president be so sacred, sacrosanct ? that nobody can challenge? “This is against the spirit of democracy,’’ he stressed.
Muhyiddin, who is also the party’s Constitution Committee chairman, said most members had rejected the quota system during a feedback exercise conducted by him previously.
“(This is) because the quota system actually promotes money politics,’’ he added.
Prime Minister and party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said last month that the 30% quota of support from divisions for the president’s post, 20% for deputy president and 10% for vice-presidents would stay despite calls for its abolition by some party members.
On Abdullah's decision to defend his presidency in the Umno polls, Muhyiddin said it was his prerogative and right to do so.
“But there are people who want to contest against him, they, too, are exercising their democratic right.
“At the end of the day, it is the delegates who will decide. The leaders don’t decide, it’s always the delegates, and we have got a process of elections,” he added.
WT- Personally, I felt that the quota system must be abolished as soon as possible. Of course, to `abolish' the clause of quota system is not as easy as we eat nasi lemak where we just place the order or self service and eat.
UMNO should take into consideration seriously all current `highlights' that brought up by the people of Malaysia and definitely from the bottom heart of UMNO members.
Dear UMNO members, shall we consider major transformation within the party? Think at least twice....