Sep 5, 2006

Former PM Regrets Attempts To Keep Him Out Of Umno General Assembly

** View Press Conference here

Extracted from BERNAMA
PUTRAJAYA, Sept 4 (Bernama) -- Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today expressed regret over continuous action by some people to prevent him from becoming a delegate of the Kubang Pasu Umno Division to the Umno General Assembly in November.

He said his attempt to be elected as a divisional delegate had attracted a lot of effort from certain parties to oppose the idea.

"They seem to be going all out. Even government officers seem to be there, (Umno Secretary-General Datuk Seri) Radzi (Sheikh Ahmad) seems to be there, and a lot of them are there, meeting all the different branches," he told a press conference here Monday.

Dr Mahathir said he regretted their action that was sugar-coated with the objective to preserve his dignity as the former Umno president.

"What they are saying is that people should not choose me as a delegate because it will cause my glorious position as president (before) to be lowered. Therefore, they want to save my goodwill.

"But of course, their own intention is to show that my own division does not want me, that's the objective. And of course, that something will be spread later on to tell the whole of Umno that my own division doesn't want me," he added.

Dr Mahathir, who was the former Kubang Pasu Umno Division Chief, relinquished all his posts in the movement when he retired as prime minister in October 2003.

He agreed to be the division's delegate to the Umno General Assembly after receiving 16 nominations from a total of 139 branches last Aug 20.

The decision on whether Dr Mahathir would be chosen to be a Kubang Pasu delegate to the assembly would be known at the divisional meeting on Saturday.

At the Kuala Pilah Umno Division meeting last Aug 26, Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that Dr Mahathir need not lower his dignity as a national hero by becoming a delegate to the assembly.

Dr Mahathir contended that what lowered his dignity was the action by those who tried to prevent him from becoming a Kubang Pasu division delegate at the assembly and meet Umno members.

"I am not going to be lowered in any way by being a delegate. After all it's the delegates from the divisions who eventually choose the leadership.

"All I am trying is to get an opportunity to attend the Umno General Assembly and also to speak if I am allowed to," he added.

Dr Mahathir said he felt that there were those among Umno leaders who were threatened with his presence at the assembly as he might expose them if he was allowed to speak there.

He said this should not be the case as many Umno leaders had heard of his dissatisfaction with the existing administration and they had given their feedback.

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