Aug 21, 2006

Pak Lah : Spat with Tun will not affect ASEAN

Extracted from MalaysiaKini

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today dismissed Singapore's fears that his bitter row with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad could cause damaging fallout within the region.

"It will not affect Asean," Abdullah said according to the state Bernama news agency, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Bernama said Abdullah was reacting to comments from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said in a national day address Sunday that several countries in the region "face difficulties."

In Malaysia, he said there were "deep political differences between Mahathir and Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi".

"I think everyone hopes it will be resolved soon," said Lee who also outlined political difficulties in neighbouring Indonesia and Thailand, saying the problems could impact on Asean.

"These regional problems affect the climate of Asean as a whole, and so affect Singapore indirectly," he said in the speech which was posted on a Singapore government website.

On Saturday, deputy prime minister Najib Razak warned that the Umno party which has ruled since independence in 1957 could lose power over the dispute between Abdullah and Mahathir.

Mahathir has been accused of fomenting a split within Umno with strident attacks on Abdullah, accusing him of damaging the economy and dismantling his legacy built up over two decades in power.

Mahathir, who has accused Abdullah of nepotism and corruption, has vowed to continue his attacks on a range of government policies, including the scrapping of plans for a new bridge to Singapore.

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