GUA MUSANG, Kelantan (BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK ) - Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is contemplating contesting the party's presidency in its upcoming polls.
Admitting that the post comes with great responsibility, Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh said he needed more time to think it over before making any decision for the sake of the party, following its huge loss in the recent general election.
"Losing the election does not mean that the party is weak. It is still strong and has the support from the people," he told reporters on Saturday (June 2).
Tengku Razaleigh, 81, who is Umno chief for the Gua Musang District in Kelantan and its Member of Parliament, said what was more important was to protect Article 153 of the Federal Constitution related to the rights of the Malays.
Former prime minister Najib Razak resigned as president of the Malay nationalist party after his Barisan Nasional coalition lost in the May 9 general election.
Umno's internal party election is expected to be held next year. It will see all top posts open for contest, after this was agreed upon by the Umno supreme council on May 22.
This decision meant that the previous motion of no-contest for the party's top two posts, namely president and deputy president, that was passed by the Umno general assembly in December last year has been nullified.
Nominations for the Umno party elections are open from June 1 to 17.
Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is the acting Umno president, has already announced his intention to contest the presidency at the party election.
His press secretary Maj-Gen Fadzlette Othman Merican said on Saturday Datuk Seri Zahid had registered to contest for the position.
It was unclear if Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein, who is now the de-facto number two in the party, has decided to contest any post, according to one of his aides who declined to be named.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has taken on the duties of the Umno deputy president after Mr Najib stepped down as president on May 12.
Former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar and Umno's state chief Mohamad Hasan, has also announced his intention to contest the deputy president's post.