© Malaysiakini (Used by permission)
Umno veteran former vice president Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today said that he wanted to challenge Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the presidency in the coming party polls.
The MP for Gua Musang offered himself to lead Umno to “heal the party” which was in “a bad way”.
“I still have ideas, I am still brave because I am independent and I don’t depend on anyone. If my service is still needed and my strength can still be used, I am offering myself to work for the rakyat,” he told a press conference in Kota Baru today.
“Even though I am old but I am still strong. If there are enough nominations for me to contest in the Umno election, I will give my service if I am needed,” he added.
Tengku Razaleigh had previously challenged and lost to then Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the 1987 party elections, causing a massive split in the party and the subsequent formation of Semangat 46 by Tengku Razaleigh.
He was later invited back into the Umno fold by Mahathir in 1996 when he dissolved Semangat 46 and brought back all its members into Umno.
In 2004, he tried to challenge Abdullah for the presidency but failed to obtain the necessary nominations. He obtained only one from his Gua Musang division.
Calling for Umno EGM
He is now planning to call for a special meeting in his division tomorrow to discuss his proposal for the party to hold a special meeting to discuss the defeat.
He described Umno’s defeat in the recent general election as the most painful and horrible moment in his political career.
The Kelantan prince also recently distributed letters to all Umno divisions and branch heads, urging them to call for a special Umno EGM on May 11, the party’s anniversary, to discuss the dismal polls performance.
He felt the meeting should be held before the annual general meeting in August to “avoid confusion.”
“I felt the general assembly has to deal with lots of issues, so let us have this special meeting to discuss the election results. I hope the other Umno divisions will consider this. This can be done according to the party’s constitution and it is an abnormal thing. We need to discuss this defeat. Haven’t the Umno members realise we’ve lost five states? Are they still sleeping?” he said.