Umno presidet Datuk Seri Najib Razak with party’s vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi during a press conference after the end of party’s General Assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre. Pic by SAIRIEN NAFIS

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak made clear that the Umno top leadership did not influence the decision for the party president and deputy president’s posts to be uncontested.

The Umno president said he made sure that the ‘no-contest’ proposal would only come from the party’s delegates, and not by Umno’s highest decision-making body.

“When I heard that the motion would be brought to the general assembly, I did not want to get involved.

“In fact, one of the Umno Supreme Council members wanted to table raise the motion.

“I made it clear that such a decision should not come from the party president,” the prime minister said in his winding up speech at the end of the three-day Umno annual assembly here today.

The motion, which was proposed by Umno Youth representative Datuk Mohamad Sahfri Ab Aziz and seconded by Umno Perak representative Datuk Mohd Azhar Jamaluddin, was passed unanimously on Friday.

Najib said he and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would uphold the members’ trust in them.

“I am very glad because I have a deputy (Zahid) who is a very close and loyal friend,” he said, adding that they had been working together since 1986.

Najib said he strongly supported Zahid during the latter’s tenure as Bagan Datuk Umno Youth chief, adding that his right hand man reciprocated the gesture in 2015, when then Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin left the party.

“Who would have known that when my then deputy decided to stir trouble, Zahid was the one to step forward and defended me? Zahid did not forget his friend and because of him, Umno emerged stronger.”

Najib said his unbreakable friendship with Zahid reminded him of a song by Datuk D.J. Dave, which lyrics read:

Sukarnya mencari

Kawan yang setia

Yang sanggup menolong

Di masa kau susah

Kawan waktu senang

Tak payah kau cari-cari

Di mana saja

Mudah kau jumpa

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