The Star, Thursday October 9, 2008 MYT 8:27:24 PM
PETALING JAYA Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has pulled out of the race for the party’s deputy presidency and will vie for the vice-presidency instead.
“I have made the decision to only contest the vice-presidency this time in order to preserve unity at the grassroots, and to strengthen the party,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said he was also doing it out of respect for Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who has been chosen to lead the party.
“I thank all those who understand the situation and current political reality which needs sacrifice from some for the sake of the party’s unity and strength,” he added.
His stand comes a day after Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that he would not be contesting in the party elections and would hand over the reins to his deputy Najib.
Abdullah however, will remain as Prime Minister until March when the Umno general assembly will be held.
The Prime Minister, who named Najib as his successor, hoped that the latter would win the party presidency and would discuss the transition of power after that.
Ahmad Zahid also asked the support and nomination from the grassroots during the ongoing Umno divisional meetings.
“I also state my support and undivided loyalty to Datuk Seri Najib who has been given the trust by the Prime Minister to take over the party’s leadership,” he added.