Oct 31, 2006

Differences With Dr M Will Not Alienate M'sians, Says Abdullah

NANNING, Oct 31 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi believes his differences with his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not alienate Malaysians and the people have to decide on what they want.

Speaking at a press conference before departing to Kuala Lumpur, Abdullah said he did not want to comment on speculations that Dr Mahathir would be expelled from Umno.

The Prime Minister said many people were concerned of what was happening between him and Dr Mahathir but they have also asked him to concentrate on implementing the Ninth Malaysia Plan which would yield many results by the middle of next year.

Asked if Malaysians were alienated by the situation between him and Dr Mahathir, he said: "No, I think Malaysians will have to decide on what they want, what they would like to do and what they are looking for if they want me to concentrate on what I am doing with my colleagues."

Surprised by a Malaysian newsman who reminded Abdullah that today was his third anniversary of his premiership, the Prime Minister said there was much he still had to do.

"Three years is not enough to do work as there are still much to be done. The Ninth Malaysia Plan has just been implemented and several projects under the Eighth Malaysia Plan have not been completed yet," he said.

Dr Mahathir has been criticising Abdullah and his administration for reversing some of his policies and cancelling projects initiated by him including the "scenic bridge" project to replace the Johor Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore.

Dr Mahathir renewed his attacks on Abdullah after having a "four-eyed" meeting with the prime minister on Oct 22 including alleging that Malaysia had become a "police state".

Abdullah said: "I thank Malaysians for supporting me all this while."

He said the government was pushing ahead with the implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the people can expect to see a lot of results by mid-next year. "It's not that we are lying idle, there's still a lot of work to be done. I believe we can see a lot of changes in the near future. There are many projects to be implemented will yield benefits to the people," he said.

On the Umno supreme council meeting agenda on Thursday, Abdullah said he would be briefed by party secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad after his return from Nanning where he attended the Asean-China commemorative summit.

He said he was always open to discuss any issue that was important to Umno.

The party management committee would also recommend matters that needed to be discussed, he said.

Asked if Dr Mahathir would be expelled, he said: I'm not sure such matters were the subject of discussions. I do not wish to comment on that."

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