KUALA LUMPUR (June 4): Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi agrees that there should be no contest for the posts of president and deputy president in the upcoming party polls. This, he said, is because the party needs the guidance of the current president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Yesterday, Negeri Sembilan passed a no contest resolution for the top two posts, saying this is to avoid disunity within the party and ensure that Umno has a strong team to face GE14. When asked if he agreed with this, Ahmad Zahid said: "I am for it. We should not contest (the positions). We need both of them (Najib and Muhyiddin). Ahmad Zahid, who is the home minister, was speaking to reporters during a working visit to the 1Malaysia Cure & Care Clinic – set up for drug addicts wishing to recover from their addiction – in Sungai Besi.In the Umno elections set to be held by the end of this year, 146,500 delegates from 161 divisions will elect the party leadership.The party is still contemplating on the mechanism it will use for all delegates to vote simultaneously in accordance to amendments made to the party constitution in 2009. Najib's position may be on the rocks as Barisan Nasional under his leadership managed to secure only 133 seats in GE13, the coalition's worse showing in its history.However, Najib has defended this results arguing that Umno as a single party has managed to increase its number of seats and also gain support in mixed seat areas. In Umno's first Supreme Council meeting after GE13 last Friday, Najib pointed out that Umno won 88 seats compared to 79 in GE12. "We have gained 30% more votes compared to the last election in mixed seat areas," he added.Meanwhile, Puteri Umno chief Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the proposal was a positive step towards ensuring the objective to transform the party would succeed. The proposal, the Papar MP said, was not meant to deny the members rights or democracy, but it has to be taken into consideration that under its current president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Umno has performed excellently in the 13th general election, where it won more seats. The Malay support towards BN has also shown an increase, a fact, Rosnah pointed, that could not be denied. “Umno has gone through a drastic transformation and had become the strongest election machinery in the party’s history. I believe this strength can be felt even in the grassroots,” she said in a statement. The party under Najib’s leadership in the past four years, the deputy works minister said, saw “undivided” service to the people via various transformation initiatives including acknowledging the voice of the youth by fielding a youthful line-up in the recently concluded general election. “However, Umno has not prevented anyone from offering themselves to contest although in my opinion, Najib is the best president for Umno’s survival,” she said.
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