Aug 13, 2006

Tun Mahathir issues letter to protest against alleged gag order

"When he starts to lie to the people, he will lose. Never lie to the people."

** See the video of Tun's speech here

Extracted from ChannelNewsAsia
Former Malaysian PM Mahathir issues letter to protest against alleged gag order

Malaysia's former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has issued a letter to all members of the ruling party, UMNO.

He is protesting against an alleged gag order from the party's supreme council to prevent him from speaking to other members.

Angered by the withdrawal of several invitations for him to speak at UMNO divisional meetings, he has resorted to personally issuing letters to all three million party members in the country.

Dr Mahathir said: "I just want to ask why they won't allow me to speak. I am a member of my own party, I am an UMNO member, ex-president of the party, when the ex-president cannot speak to the party members, there must be something wrong."

Stepping up the pressure on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Dr Mahathir again accused him and his family of abuse of power.

In his letter, he challenged UMNO members to question the party president on key issues - like the alleged offer for the sale of one billion cubic metre of sand to Singapore.

Dr Mahathir said: "When he starts to lie to the people, he will lose. Never lie to the people."

The former prime minister insisted that he's not making a political comeback, neither does he intend to split the party.

He said: "There's no breakaway branch, UMNO is whole, only one or two leaders are wrong. There are always differences in UMNO, but in the end, when things become clear, both sides are heard, UMNO will come together again."

He earlier addressed an UMNO divisional meeting organised by youth leaders who wanted to hear his views.

The youth leaders said they didn't think this would upset Mr Abdullah, who is known affectionately as Pak Lah.

Mohd Azli Saad, UMNO Division Youth Chief, North Petaling Jaya, said: "I don't think Pak Lah will do that, because Pak Lah is very open."

Azrin Zizal Aziz, UMNO Delegate, said: "We're not breaking ranks. The whole reason why we are here is because the grassroots is confused."

UMNO delegates, who are currently convening their divisional meetings throughout Malaysia in the lead up to the party general assembly mid-November, say they welcome the views from both sides in order to form their own balanced and informed judgements when the time comes. - CNA/ch

Excerpt from MalaysiaKini
Mahathir, who is also the ex-Umno president, questioned a party ruling which he claimed was stopping him from speaking to party members.

He was referring to the ruling that party divisions should not invite Mahathir to officiate their meetings since he is neither an Umno supreme council member nor a government leader.

Mahathir has written a two-page open letter addressed to all Umno members titled ‘Prohibition to listen to my explanation’ and it was widely distributed in today’s meeting.

The letter is expected to reach about three million Umno members nationwide via various means.

Apart from questioning why party members were stopped from listening to him, he said at the end of the letter: “They (party leaders) are afraid to let me speak up because they are wrong.”

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