Asked if he was ready to face a challenge from anyone for his post, Abdullah, who is Prime Minister, replied:
“Well, if they have the support and they want to challenge me, I have to face it. I will not run away.”
Abdullah, who chaired the Umno supreme council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday, earlier announced that the Umno annual general assembly, which included the party elections, has been set for Dec 16 to 20.
Under the Umno constitution, the party can postpone its polls for up to 18 months from the due date, which means that Umno has up to March next year to hold elections.
The general assembly will also see elections for the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings.
Abdullah said that prior to the assembly, the Umno branches which held their elections last year would hold their meetings from July 17 to Aug 24 followed by the division meetings from Oct 9 to Nov 9.
He added that the party elections would follow existing procedures and rules.
There would be no changes to the system of nomination quota for party posts.
According to the party constitution, candidates who wish to contest for the president's post must obtain 30% of nominations, 20% nominations for the deputy president's post, 10% for the vice-president posts and 5% for the supreme council posts from the divisions to be eligible.
On Tuesday, the Cheras Umno division called for all top party posts, including those of president and deputy president, to be open for contest, and for the nomination quota to be abolished.
Asked if all party posts would be open for contest, Abdullah said:
“I don’t know, wait first. We have to see first. When there are candidates (for the posts), then we will know what will happen.”
A supreme council member who declined to be named said the members debated the election dates at the meeting, in view of some calls for the elections to be postponed.
On Tuesday, party information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said the elections might be postponed to next year as several division leaders wanted the polls to be deferred to avoid “havoc and disaster”.
The supreme council member said the mood at the meeting was that the grassroots felt that the elections should not be put off to next year.
“There were some views that the elections should be postponed, although they were the minority,” he said.
He said Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who presented the proposed election dates in his capacity as the party management committee chairman, told the meeting that postponing the elections would only be “postponing the problem”.
“He said that we might as well do it this year and after the elections, we can patch up,” the supreme council member said.
Supreme council member Datuk Shahrir Samad said that everyone who wanted to have his say on the party elections spoke.
“Everyone felt the elections should not be postponed. But it was not an issue that dominated the meeting.
“We discussed many other issues such as the Terengganu Mentri Besar issue and others,” he said.
Source The Star Online