Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak has been appointed Chairman of the Perak Umno Liaison Body and Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, succeeding Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali who has resigned from both positions with immediate effect.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Perak Umno Liaison Body and Deputy Chairman of Perak BN.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Najib and Ahmad Zahid would hold the positions until the Umno general assembly in March and a new appointment would be made after the general assembly.

“Who will be appointed (the Perak Umno Liaison chairman later) is yet to be known,” he said at a press conference after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting that lasted more than four hours, here tonight.

Abdullah, who is also Umno President, said he accepted Tajol Rosli’s decision to resign to give an opportunity to a new leader to head the state Umno.

“We respect his wish and decision to retire. It is felt that it would be better that someone else leads the Perak Umno,” he said.

Meanwhile Mohd Tajol Rosli, when met by reporters, said the decision was the best as he conceded that he did not have the necessary strength to win back the Perak state government for the BN.

“This is the best decision that I can make for Perak to wrest back the state government in the next general election,” he said.

He said his desire to step down had been conveyed much earlier after the 12th general election but the party leadership had asked him to reconsider his decision.

“I had informed Datuk Seri Najib (about the decision) on Monday. This time around, I informed the MT directly and they have agreed. I did not hold a state liaison meeting on the matter because I did not want the others to plead again,” he said.

The meeting tonight also discussed the post-mortem report on the Kuala Terengganu Parliamentary by-election on Jan 17 which would be scrutinised further by the Umno management committee.

In the by-election, BN candidate Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Ismail lost to the PAS candidate, Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut, by a majority of 2,631 votes.

Meanwhile, Abdullah said all suggestions submitted at the party’s retreat recently would be implemented immediately, especially matters pertaining to the party’s election process in March.

“Everyone must also remind party members against the evil of money politics which must be avoided.

“The existing Disciplinary Board specifically focuses on cases pertaining to money politics and we must increase the number of personnel so that cases reported could be looked into, considered and a decision made as soon as possible,” he added.