Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Muhyiddin dismisses talk Dr M mastermind of M’sia’s future administration


International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday dismissed talk that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad orchestrated the increasing popularity of him and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak so that they could be the future leaders of the country. “I don’t think you need to be in any way confused because you see us together (with Mahathir). The fact that we meet in certain functions doesn’t mean that there are major developments happening,” he told reporters after co-chairing the 1st Malaysia Indonesia Joint Trade and Investment Committee Meeting here yesterday. Muhyiddin said this when asked by a reporter whether Dr Mahathir had a role to play in determining the future leaders of the country. “He (Mahathir) still is respected as an elder Malaysian statesman. You people also have high regards for him. I don’t think we can deny that fact. But to what extent he has influence in terms of the administration, I think that is something that Datuk Najib should be able to manage,” he said. He said Najib had the requisite experience to manage the country and had worked in the previous Cabinet with Dr Mahathir. “I was also in the old Cabinet and now a member of the present Cabinet. I think a blend of past experience together with that of the present is important,” he said. Najib and Muhyiddin are the frontrunners for the President and Deputy President posts for Umno’s upcoming elections in March next year. By convention Umno President and Deputy President become Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively. Meanwhile, when speaking to reporters at Puteri Umno’s Aidilfitri Open House here, Muhyiddin said experience and capability should be the main criteria when nominating candidates for leadership posts and not the factor of age. “As long as the person is healthy, has a sharp mind and is capable of handling the job, one’s age, old or young, should not be the main concern,” he said when asked to comment on remarks by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin that the old should make way for the young. At the same function, Umno Youth Deputy Chief Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters that he was confident of making the cut to contest the Umno Youth Chief post. Asked about the slow pace of nominations for him at Umno Youth’s ongoing delegates meetings, Khairy said: “Maybe because I have been said to have become the underdog now”. He has garnered 19 nominations and is trailing behind Umno Youth Executive Council member Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir who has picked up 40 nominations, two more than the 38 nominations to be eligible to contest. Of the others in the fray and after 72 divisions have held their meetings, former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir ha obtained 12 nominations while Perils Umno Deputy Chief Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin just one.- Bernama