ALOR GAJAH: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has said Umno does not belong to him as claimed by former Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom he also called a bigger ‘dictator’.
"The move to allow over 165,000 grassroots members to vote for the election of Umno president in 2013 is solid evidence that Umno does not belong to me, unlike in the era of Dr Mahathir," said Najib.
The Umno president added that the former Prime Minister and party president used the "quota and bonus votes" mechanism during party polls to ensure that he could retain power.
Najib said that during the 1987 Umno election, Mahathir contested against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and won by only 43 votes.
He added that although he was close to Tengku Razaleigh, he upheld the principle of loyalty as Mahathir was his leader when he was the Umno Youth chief.
"After I became Umno president, I abolished the mechanism and left my fate to be decided by over 165,000 Umno members nationwide," said Najib.
He added that he won uncontested, and said that this showed that Umno openly supported his leadership.
"It shows that Umno does not belong to me, but to all its members. In fact, it is more open today than in the past," said Najib when opening the Masjid Tanah Umno Division delegates conference in Alor Gajah on Sunday.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and Umno executive secretary Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh, who is also the Masjid Tanah Umno chief.
Amendments to the party’s constitution were passed in 2009, which among others abolished the quota system in party polls and increased the number of members allowed to vote for the election of the top leadership and divisional leaders. - Bernama