Friday, April 4, 2008

DPM Najib loses Tun Dr Mahathir's endorsement

Quoted from the Straits Times of Singapore - Wednesday, April 2 2008

Some quotes on Mahathir about Badawi:

"Even his own state (Penang) was captured by the opposition. Never before did we have a Prime Minister from an "enemy" state. Is he not ashamed?"

"I know the candidate list did not come from the chief ministers. They brought the list to Sultan Abdullah Shah, and the list is taken to the office next door. It is inspected there (bu the so-called Fourth Floor Advisers) before being sent back to Sultan Abdullah."

"I admit I was a reason why the BN lost. I cannot support a leader who is not good for the country and party. I couldn't support all candidates but I said they should pick good people."

Mahathir no longer supports Najib for Prime Minister

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said he no longer supported Deputy Premier Najib Razak for prime minister.

At a raucousevent attended by more than 1,500 Umno members, he said: "Previously, I said Najib but I have changed my mind."

Tun Dr. Mahathir had called on his succesor, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, to resign and hand over power to Datuk Seri Najib the day after the ruling Barisan Nasional suffered unprecedented losses in the March 8 polls.

But the Deputy Premier himself quickly pledged loyalty to Datuk Seri Abdullah.

Last week, it is understood that the Prime Minister announced to Umno's governing council that Datuk Seri Najib would be his running mate at the UMNO election in December.

But while he withdrew his endorsement of Datuk Seri Najib, Tun Dr. Mahathir stopped short of saying which candidate he preferred.
The most credible challenge to Datuk Seri Abdullah could come from Kelantan prince Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who has said he will take on the Prime Minister in the party polls.

But observers believe that Tun Dr Mahathir has moved a step closer to Tengku Razaleigh or Umno Vice President Muhyiddin Yassin as his choice for the top job.

And his support can be influential.

Despite the baggage that the 82 year old still carries from his own years as Prime Minister, his attacks on his successor over the last two years have caused Datuk Seri Abdullah serious damage.

The former premier, who launched his attacks against Datuk Seri Abdullah two years ago, has again become one of his harshest critics.

Indeed, it was Tun Dr. Mahathir who led the charge at yesterday's boisterous event held to analyse the electoral losses.

He urged the crowd, mostly Umno grassroots members to speak up to ensure an open contest for party president, who has traditionally also been Malaysia's prime minister.

The participants subsequently turned the event into an angry tirade against Datuk Seri Abdullah and his son-in-law Khairi Jamaluddin.

In fact, the event had the air of an opposition rally - except that it was Umno members expressing their disgust with their top leadership.

Shouts of "Hidup Mahathir" punctuated the noisy event, and calls for the Prime Minister's resignation were met with cheers.

Umno governing council member Mohd Khir Toyo, who defended the leadership by saying that a change of leaders would not help if the policies remained the same, was heckled.

An Umno Youth branch leader set off cires of "traitor" when he called for the return of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to the party. He was forcibly removed from the hall by two men.

There was standing room only inside the hall, and hundreds more crowded around a big screen outside.

Such anger at the grassroots is one of the many fires that the Prime Minister is struggling to put out, and his determination to stay in power is stirring up harsh criticism.

"I call on him to resign. Anyone else would have done so already but he is shameless. We must be brave to reject leaders who bring disaster to the party," Tun Dr Mahathir said.

His son Mukhriz Mahathir also spoke at the event, sayting that it was the leadership of Datuk Seri Abdullah which was dragging down UMNO. Datuk Mukhriz, an Umno Youth exco member is a newly elected MP.

Urging party leaders to shake off their fear of speaking up, he said: "I appeal to you, stand by me, for us to find a solution"

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