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Saturday, 14 June 2008
PITA POLITIK (36): AN ACT OF INTERFERENCE?
A matter of succession, the UMNO way?
Why Najib won't challenge Pak Lah: I want to build Umno The deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president described himself as a loyal party member who subscribed to an orderly leadership change, as has been the Umno convention.
Najib was responding to a question at Chatham House, home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs here, about the likelihood of his challenging Abdullah for the party presidency following Barisan Nasional's poor results in the March general election.
He said he made his stand not on the basis of courage or cowardice but of "core values".
"I believe what is important is that whatever position you take, it must be a core value personal to you. My father (second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) helped to build the party.
"I am not going to destroy it. I want to continue to build the party."
He had earlier delivered a lecture on "Malaysia in the face of new global challenges". He was on the final day of a four-day working visit to the United Kingdom.
"I am a true party man who believes in the traditional way of leadership transition," he said to an audience of influential individuals in business and public life.The event was held in association with the Asean-UK Business Forum.
He said that as Umno was weakened after the general election, the last thing it needed was a divisive leadership battle.
"What's the point of inheriting a position when you lose in the general election? I don't want to lead the party to defeat."
During the question-and-answer session, he also explained the government's affirmative action policies, which sought a more equitable society and were necessitated by the country's political realities.
He also shared his views on the importance of an education system that promoted creativity and inventiveness.
In his speech earlier, he touched on many issues, including Malaysia's economic growth, Vision 2020, the effects of rising fuel and food prices, the general election, the country's commitment to international trade liberalisation and the country's bilateral ties with the UK.
On Malaysia-UK relations, he believed that much more could be done given the historical ties between the two countries and the strong bonds of friendship among their peoples.
"We must not leave our relationship in a state of benign neglect," he said, referring to the term he used in an address to British businesses in 2005.
He called on the British administration to step up bilateral ties.
He said no British prime minister had visited Malaysia since John Major in 1993.
"I'd like to see the (British) prime minister leading a high-powered delegation (to Malay-sia) to underscore this (longstanding relationship)." (NST Online, 14 June 08)
Comment: The Star on the same day carries the following story:
To some UMNO members Tun Mahathir Mohamad is not being wise when he urges Dato' Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak to contet the president's post since he (Tun Mahathir) is no more an UMNO member. They say that will be tantamount to political interfering into other people's party. Or is it that Tun Mahathir still loves the party he once led and held so dearly for a couple of decades.