PETALING JAYA: Acting Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says Tengku Razaleigh’s candidacy for the Umno presidency, which he is vying for, shows the party is more democratic and open to all positions being contested.
But the former deputy prime minister said Umno shouldn’t be split into two camps like in 1987 though this “openness” had returned.
He was referring to the party’s split when Tengku Razaleigh challenged Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the party’s top post.
Tengku Razaleigh lost and subsequently sued the party. As a result, Umno was declared illegal.
Mahathir then went on to form Umno Baru, while Tengku Razaleigh set up Semangat 46 before dissolving it and returning to Umno in 1996.
“I will accept with an open mind and heart whoever wins to form a strong Umno leadership.
“Umno must be strengthened with teamwork even though it lost in GE14.”
Zahid said looking after Umno members was more important than any position contested, as the position will be come with responsibility and should not be considered a political reward.
“The campaigning period should not become a platform for character assassination of candidates,” he said, adding it was a friendly contest.
He added the contest should be part of facing the new political reality rather than creating enemies among Umno members.
Earlier today, Tengku Razaleigh announced his candidacy for the Umno presidency, setting up a showdown with Zahid.