Saturday, March 15, 2008

:: Under fire

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir may face action from Umno's supreme council

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's letter to the PM

Datuk Mahathir Mohamad's letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1969

Mukhriz under fire over 'quit' call to PM
Posted by kasee
Saturday, 15 March 2008

PUTRAJAYA: Senior Umno leaders stood behind the prime minister yesterday, slamming Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's call for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign as a move that could weaken the party in its moment of distress.
In a letter dated March 12, Mukhriz, son of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, asked Abdullah "to do what is appropriate" following the Barisan Nasional's electoral performance. "I appeal to you to take responsibility for the defeat. Only by your resigning as prime minister and Umno president can the recovery of Umno, BN and the nation be accomplished successfully," he wrote, echoing his father's statements last Sunday.
Umno vice-presidents Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said Mukhriz's action would only divide the party. Copies of the letter were sent to both of them, as well as party deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad. "He should not have written the letter as it would only weaken the party further," Ali said. Muhyiddin said Mukhriz had the right to express himself but as an Umno member, he should be loyal to the leadership. He said calling for Abdullah's resignation was a knee-jerk reaction to the party's crisis. "After the shock we've had from the election results, many are angry and depressed and feel their only recourse is to ask the prime minister to resign. That is not the solution. We need to first hold the fort, to rally everybody around the leadership in order to get the party back on its feet," Muhyiddin said.
Both vice-presidents said Mukhriz had put Umno in a bind as to whether disciplinary action should be taken against him. The decision now rests with the party's supreme council. Muhyiddin said: "We cannot be rash. He is still an Umno member and we don't want him to become a stray MP. Right now, we cannot afford to sacrifice a single MP in parliament because we only have a simple majority." Ali noted the quandary Umno was in. "I would advise him to stop making more comments. There is already tension in the party and if we take disciplinary action against him, it will create further tension among his supporters. He's putting us in a difficult position." Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein dissociated his movement from Mukhriz's statement. Mukhriz is an exco member in Umno Youth. "This is not the stand of the Pemuda," he said. "As I said earlier, Umno Youth is behind the prime minister and deputy prime minister. "If his (Mukhriz) statement is a personal view, I do not think this is the right way or time to make it. What is important now is to focus on reorganising the party."
Puteri Umno head Datuk Noraini Ahmad took the same line."Now is not the time to blame each other or anyone. I know he is entitled to his views but I call on all Umno members to support Pak Lah." Shortly after the 1969 general election, Dr Mahathir wrote a now infamous scathing letter calling on then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman to resign. Blaming Bapa Malaysia for the May 13 race riots, he said "the time is past for you to retire as prime minister and Umno chief". - NST