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Najib to defend Umno post

Datuk Seri Najib Razak will defend his position as Umno president at the party's polls next month, if there is a contest.

"Based on feedback and views from all levels in the party, I humbly accept and am offering myself to defend the presidency," he announced after attending a law conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

Umno leaders and divisions have called for the party's top two posts not to be contested, citing stability and unity.

There were intense speculations that veteran leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is planning to challenge Najib, although the former has remained non-committal about contesting to date.

The son of Malaysia's second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak, Najib took over the Malay party's top job from his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, who stepped down due to Barisan Nasional's dismal performance in the 2008 general election.

Najib’s deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasisn is expected to announce which post he would be vying for later this evening.

Najib said he was very thankful and touched by the support given to him to defend his seat. 

"With the mandate given,  hopefully we can all work together to strengthen the party," he said.

However,  Najib,  who is also the prime minister,  refused to be drawn into his next move in case of a challenge, telling reporters to wait until nominations closed this Saturday evening.

He also refused to be drawn on who he wanted on his team,  quipping that he is the "captain of an Umno team. "

In maintaining that he is a great advocate of continuity and stability,  Najib nonetheless acknowledged that change is needed for the party to remain relevant.

"The question is on the degree of change, " he said.

Asked whether Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who is expected to contest for one of the three vice presidents positions, had met him,  Najib said he met a lot of people daily. -- September 19, 2013.

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