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Information chief shoots for number 2! - malaysiakini' reports report

Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib today offered himself as a candidate for the deputy presidency of Umno, setting the stage for a heated and crowded contest.

The Umno stalwart is the fourth prominent Umno leader to join the chase after former Youth chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, vice-president and Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam and Pulai division head Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Another heavyweight, vice-president and International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is widely expected to announce his candidacy tomorrow.

But although seen as frontrunner for the deputy presidency, there is also some talk that Muhyiddin might be forced by the crowded field to go for broke and challenge for the No 1 post, unless some of the other candidates pulled out.

Meanwhile, Muhammad (left) - better known as Mat Taib or even by his nickname of Tyson - promised to help stabilise the party and pledged loyalty to the next president.

A former Selangor chief minister, he has been regarded by insiders to be a staunch loyalist of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah had yesterday announced he would not be defending the Umno presidency, clearing the way for his deputy Najib Abdul Razak to move up the ladder and in turn leaving the No 2 Umno post open to contest.

By convention, the Umno president and deputy president respectively become the country's prime minister and deputy prime minister.

Zahid may drop out

Party election for the top posts in the country's largest political party are due to be held next March, but division meetings to nominate candidates officially begin today until Nov 9.

Machang and Kimanis are reported to be among the first divisions to hold their delegate conferences tomorrow, followed by Besut on Saturday.

In the meantime, all eyes are on the 61-year-old Muhyiddin, the former Johor chief minister, who has been praised by party members for his courage in calling for reform and for Abdullah to step down in favour of Najib.

The surprise entry of Ahmad Zahid into the fray last week had sparked talk that Muhyiddin's chances might be dimmed.
ahmad zahid hamidi

Muhyiddin's supporters were upset as Najib could opt to endorse the 53-year-old minister in the Prime Minister's Department, who was his former political secretary.

"Muhyiddin might feel he could end up with nothing if Ahmad Zahid doesn't pull out," political analyst Khoo Kay Peng told Malaysiakini.

"Najib doesn't have to publicly endorse Zahid, he just needs to spread the word quietly through the grapevine and Muhyiddin's chances can be reduced."

"However, we believe there are already ongoing negotiations and if Zahid can be persuaded to drop out, then Muhyiddin will announce his candidacy for No 2," Khoo added.

Mat Taib promises stability

Nevertheless, according to Mat Taib, there has been no change as far as he knows.

"I am offering myself for the party because it the position is vacant," he told Malaysiakini in a phone interview.

"I think I can contribute to the stability of the party. I think Umno needs to reinforce its strength and become a stronger partty.

"I don't want to see a leadership tussle and I think I would not create an upheaval situation in the party. I am a party loyalist to all the past presidents and I will be loyal to the future president."

Born in Kampung Sungai Manggis, in Hulu Selangor, Muhammad is a graduate from Universiti Malaya and a former school teacher.

The Umno veteran, who joined the party in 1964 and was elected as vice-president and Selangor deputy state liaison committee head in 2004.

He resigned as Selangor chief minister in 1997 after being charged in Australia for holding currency worth RM3.8 million. He was found not gulity and appointed a senator in 2006 by Abdullah.

Other Umno leaders that party watchers speculated might join the No 2 bandwagon include vice-president Mohd Isa Abdul Samad and Foreign Minister Rais Yatim -

Tired of all the Malaysiakini reports? Heres the Malaysian Insider one:

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Umno supreme council member Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will drop out of the race for the party’s deputy presidency, while information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib confirmed today his candidacy for Umno No. 2.

Muhammad, a former Selangor menteri besar, will join a crowded field which is said to include Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam and Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, among others.

But sources said the 55-year-old Zahid will step aside in favour of party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is expected to announce his candidacy tomorrow.

"It looks like the status quo want a Najib-Muhyiddin team. So Ahmad Zahid will make way," an Umno source told The Malaysian Insider, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's expected bid to succeed Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as party president.

Abdullah announced yesterday he will not defend his post and will step down as premier next March, making him the shortest-serving Malaysian prime minister.

Ahmad Zahid was the first to announce a tilt for the post and he was quickly followed by Ali, the Malacca Chief Minister, and Pulai MP Nur Jazlan.

"The party warlords don't want a contest for the top two posts as they want to consolidate and project unity to regain support," another source said.

He expected Ali and Nur Jazlan to also scrap their bids in the coming days with some of them shifting their attention for any of the three vice-presidency slots.

Among those expected to contest the vice-presidency are Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, the current Umno Youth chief and a cousin of Najib.

Nominations will begin tomorrow when the Kimanis and Machang Umno divisions meet, starting the month-long period for divisional meetings.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has said he will contest the presidency but Umno officials do not expect him to get the 58 nominations to be a candidate. - Malaysian Insider


telur dua said...

If Ku Li can't garner the 58 nominations then Muhyddin should contest the #1 post. Johor UMNO is solidly behind him.

Vote Najib and Mat Taib as #1 & 2 respectively and UMNO will be laughed off the park.

Forget about Ali Rustam too. He is only good for the circus.