Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should rethink his transition plan to step down by 2010 as the timeframe was too long.
The transition plan revealed by Abdullah two months ago, he claimed, had “sunk away” and people were not thinking about it any more.
“The year 2010 is too (far away),” he told a news conference on the sidelines of the Forbes Global CEO Conference here on Wednesday.
Under the plan for the transition of power, Abdullah is to hand over the post of prime minister, chairmanship of Barisan Nasional and presidency of Umno to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in June 2010.
Muhyiddin said he had even asked Najib whether he wanted to wait that long as he (Najib) would have little time to manage and bring the confidence of the people back to Umno and Barisan.
Saying that he had always been critical of the matter as it was of interest to all Malaysians, he asked Abdullah to think about it again.
Abdullah had said that the transition plan was to strengthen Umno solidarity and put party members at ease following too much politicking after the last general election which Barisan scraped through with a simple majority in Parliament.
Asked on speculation that he would team up with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to mount a challenge for the Umno deputy presidency and presidency respectively, Muhyiddin replied, “Like you said, it is just speculation.”
The speculation arose from a meeting between Muhyiddin and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the latter’s house in Cyberjaya last Saturday, where Tengku Razaleigh was also present.
At the meeting, Mahathir voiced his intention to rejoin Umno which he left in May.
Muhyiddin said that though Mahathir had left Umno, he was still talking a lot about the party, particularly on ways to strengthen it, and bringing back the people’s confidence.
He said it was a good move by Dr Mahathir and believed that it would be welcomed by Umno members as it would put the party back in high spirits.
“We have to be very open about it and Dr Mahathir’s views are still well sought after, and he could contribute by strengthening the party,” Muhyiddin said.