MUAR, 12 Sept 2008: Gua Musang Member of Parliament (MP) Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said the Umno constitution does not provide for a power transition by its top leaders.
"It is the members who should elect the leaders. The leaders cannot determine how long they want to lead, when they want to give up [the leadership position] except when they want to retire," he said.
Tengku Razaleigh said he did not want to question the remark by Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who felt that the period for the transition of power from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in June 2010 was too long.
Instead, he said, he was surprised that a proposal had been made for the transition of power between the two top leaders of Umno, which he felt was not provided for in the party constitution.
He said this to reporters after handing out aid to 150 orphans of the Muar Muslim Orphans Organisation hostel at the Bandar Maharani Jamek Mosque here on 11 Sept.
On the Umno Supreme Council’s decision to suspend Bukit Bendera Umno Division head Datuk Ahmad Ismail for three years, over a disparaging remark he had made, Tengku Razaleigh said he did not want to question whether it was a fitting decision.
"If the council says it is appropriate, we have to abide [by the decision] and say it is appropriate," he said.
Asked whether the Supreme Council decision would do away with the call "Hidup Melayu" (Long Live the Malays) at any Umno gathering, Tengku Razaleigh said: "Who says so? If we Malays do not champion the Malays, whom do we want to champion? We are championing Malaysia but we have to safeguard the Malays. Umno is the party of the Malays."
Tengku Razaleigh said the proposal for former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to rejoin Umno came about when Mahathir suggested that the
Malays join hands to safeguard their rights through Umno.
He said Mahathir made the proposal at a meeting with several Umno leaders, who discussed the position of the Malays and the government and the calls for component parties to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN).
"Mahathir suggested that a meeting be held to determine how the Malays could pool their resources to safeguard their position, if possible through Umno," he said.
Tengku Razaleigh said that as Mahathir was no longer an Umno member, there was a suggestion that he rejoin the party.
"He said he was prepared to rejoin Umno at any time, but on the condition that he had stated (that Abdullah resigns as prime minister)," he said.
Mahathir resigned from Umno in May. – Bernama