KUALA LUMPUR - The election for Umno's three wings was a historic one as it succeeded in opening up the party to make it more democratic.
Party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Umno had made the right decision in amending its constitution to allow for more party members to vote and to take part as candidates in the election.
"This election has been challenging but worth it because we want Umno to be the most open party which can serve as a model to other political parties in the country," he told reporters at a press conference last night.
As a result of the changes, the party election which took place yesterday and on Oct 19 would involve more than 33,000 candidates and 20,000 volunteers overseeing the process, Najib said.
"We will overcome whatever weaknesses to ensure that the polling next week will be smoother because more people will be anticipating the results," he added.
Najib said he told his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that he never expected the party election to be such a major exercise when the decision was made to amend the party's constitution in 2009.
To a question, Najib agreed that the big increase in the number of voters had helped curb money politics as it was impossible to influence the decision when the number of those involved was this large.
He said matters pertaining to the party election were entirely handled by the election committee and there was no interference from party leaders, including him.
When asked to comment on the results for the wing's top leadership, he said he could not make any statement as the full results had not yet been confirmed.
When it was pointed out that the "winners" - Khairy Jamaluddin, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and Mas Ermieyati Samsudin - were present, Najib said: "I can't say that they are winners but they do look happy."