Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan yesterday expressed his appreciation to Ismail Sabri Yaakob for his contributions and thanked him for his service as the Umno vice-president.
Ismail, who was the prime minister before the 15th general election, had announced that he would not be defending his vice-president post at the Umno election which is scheduled for March.
"I believe he (Ismail) made a big decision... maybe he made the decision not to contest for the post because he has already reached the pinnacle of his political career by becoming the prime minister.
"There is nothing higher than that post in the political stage," Ahmad said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby.
Ismail had earlier confirmed that he would not be contesting the post which he has held since 2018.
Ismail is among three current vice-presidents. The others are former rural and regional development minister Mahdzir Khalid and Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
The election for the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings will be held on March 11, while the election for the Umno division committees, vice-presidents and Supreme Council members is scheduled for March 18.
Ahmad also maintained that he would not be contesting the post of Umno vice-president, to give a better chance to other candidates from Johor.
He said the decision was to avoid a split in votes among delegates during the election for the post of vice-president, since there were already three candidates from the state in the contest.
"I will not be contesting for the post of vice-president although there have been suggestions for me to do so. At least one candidate from Johor must win... I do not want to add on to the list of candidates from Johor and in the end nobody wins due to a split in the votes," he said.
Ahmad, who is the MP for Pontian, said he would defend his position as an Umno Supreme Council member and challenge former Johor menteri besar Hasni Mohammad for the post of Pontian division chairman in the upcoming election.