KUALA LUMPUR: The announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to defend their respective posts at the Umno election next month is being described as a “huge relief” for the party.
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Law, Government and International Studies lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed told Bernama that he felt the two announcements reflected the strong unity among the two top leaders in the party.
He said the announcements were also described as a huge relief as Umno could not afford to be left factionalised due to contest for posts, just like what happened in 1987 when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Ahmad Martadha also emphasised that the Najib-Muhyiddin team was very much needed to ensure stability and peace in the country towards achieving the status of a high-income nation by 2020.
"Right now, Umno has very credible leaders and it is vital for the party in its bid to make various transformation for its survival to face the 14th general election," he said.
Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, from the School of Social Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), said the announcement by the party's top leaders was a "signal" for the members to preserve harmony in the party.
He said Najib's declared intention to defend his party president post was timely as his capability and leadership were needed to steer the party and nation to greater heights.
Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib, from the Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said Muhyiddin's action of declaring his full support for Najib in defending his party presidency showed the compatability of the two leaders.
"Based on the concept of democracy, the post can be contested although some of the members are opposed to a contest for the two top posts.
"Muhyiddin's decision to contest the No. 2 post shows adherence to Eastern values (of respecting the leader) and this is a welcomed added value for the party," he said. Najib made the announcement at the press conference after opening the Middle Temple Conference 2013 here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, on the other hand, made his announcement at his residence in Putrajaya, silencing all speculations about him going for the number one post in Umno.