Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and former youth wing chief Khairy Jamaluddin say the party will need to prepare its own prime minister candidate for the next general election.
However, both said the current conundrum was over who in the party could helm the post.
“If you ask me, does Umno have one (candidate)? No. Of course, not of the stature of Muhyiddin (Yassin) now. Therein lies our problem. That’s why we have to rebuild the party and move on, that’s what I’ve been trying to say,” Khairy told CNA.
“We’ll support Muhyiddin because he’s the clear prime minister candidate now, but we have to plan for after that as well.”
Tengku Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li, said the party would be nominating one of its own leaders to be prime minister during the 15th general election.
“The only problem today is who is to be hoisted? We hope that Umno will have a consensus with its colleagues to push up one person who can lead this country and who is acceptable to everybody,” he told CNA in a separate interview.
Khairy said this emphasised the need for Umno to move on from its former president, Najib Razak, following the guilty verdict in his SCR trial.
He called for a new generation of leaders to lead the party. “Let this new generation – Hishammuddin Hussein, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, myself, Reezal Merican Naina Merican (and) a few others – let us lead the party,” he said.
He said it was “an open secret” that Najib himself was planning to make a comeback as party president, adding that there were also many who wanted him to return to the top post.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Redzuan Yusof told CNA that he, too, did not see anyone in Umno with the qualities to become prime minister, adding that Muhyiddin has done a good job since taking over the post in March.
He said the people are beginning to see Muhyiddin’s leadership qualities since taking over and his ability to lead the nation to prosperity.