Oct 28, 2006

Kedah MB Says Dr Mahathir Going Overboard As Umno Member

KUALA NERANG, Oct 28 (Bernama) -- Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said Saturday Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was going overboard as an Umno member by continuing to criticise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said he has lost confidence in Dr Mahathir and felt that the former prime minister's continued criticism of the government would make the people, particularly Umno members, lose their respect for him as a statesman.

"I feel that the people of Kedah themselves are embarrassed by Tun's actions and will lose their respect for him," he told reporters at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house for the Pedu state constituency at the Naka Community Hall near here.

Mahdzir also said that while Dr Mahathir was hurling criticism at the government, the former prime minister was advisor to several government bodies such as national oil company Petronas, national car maker Proton and the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada).

"If Tun (Dr Mahathir) wants to bash the government, it would only be proper for him to relinquish all these posts and be an independent individual who has nothing to do with the government. Otherwise, what's the use of being an advisor," he said.

Mahdzir said that when Dr Mahathir was the prime minister, no one dared to criticise him.

"He used his powers, he used the ISA (Internal Security Act) to arrest people, and now he says the country has turned into a police state," he added.

Mahdzir said he assumed that Dr Mahathir was speaking on behalf of other people when he wrote a letter to the media saying that anyone who attempted to hold any function that might involve criticising the prime minister would be harassed and threatened by the police and government leaders to force them to cancel the function.

He said the willingness of Abdullah to face criticism and give priority to decision-making by consensus were praiseworthy attributes of the prime minister.

However, he said, Dr Mahathir's gesture in announcing openly that he had talked for one and a half hours at his one-on-one meeting with Abdullah last Sunday was akin to threatening the prime minister who did not say much at the meeting.

"Tun (Dr Mahathir) should realise that his action (of criticising the government) had never been practised by former prime ministers before him," Mahdzir said.

The Kedah menteri besar said that as a former prime minister it would be appropriate for Dr Mahathir to give the current leadership the opportunity to administer the country.

Mahdzir said the Kedah Umno Liaison Committee would not give any explanation to its members because it was felt that they have seen the situation in a different perspective compared to the time when Dr Mahathir first began his criticism of the government.

About 10,000 people, including party and community leaders of various races, visited the open house which was held from 11 am to 4 pm.

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