Umno vice Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has explained his stand on the leadership transition in the party to Umno’s Supreme Council (MT), which met here Thursday.

“I took the opportunity to explain remarks I made in Singapore about the plan, which I have consistently maintained since it was first mooted.

“Thankfully, the president (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) accepted it and none of my colleagues criticised me over the remarks although some had stated their reservations about it earlier,” he told reporters when approached after the meeting.

Muhyiddin, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, said his call to the Prime Minister to expedite the leadership transition was made in the interest of the party to ensure it was on a sound footing to face the next general election.

On the leadership transition process between Abdullah and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Muhyiddin said he left it to them to work it out.

“No specific date, we just gave our views and that of the grassroots who want it to be done as soon as possible. We gave space to the president to discuss it with Najib,” he said.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib said the MT meeting today agreed that the leadership transition be executed as planned.

“Whether it will be done earlier or as planned will be determined by the prime minister and his deputy,” he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the portfolio swap between Abdullah and Najib that was announced yesterday was well received by the MT as it would help prepare Najib to take over the mantle.

Following the swap, Najib holds the finance portfolio while Abdullah defence.

— BERNAMA