Oct 30, 2006

Mahathir may be dumped as Malaysian advisor: report

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysian ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad could be dumped as an advisor to key government-linked companies and agencies if he continues to criticise the government, reports said Monday.

Senior members of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) are expected to discuss Mahathir's roles as adviser to national oil company Petronas, car maker Proton and the Langkawi Development Authority this Thursday.

"Let the UMNO supreme council discuss it first and then it is up to the Prime Minister to decide," Mohamed Khaled Nordin, a member of the powerful policy-making body, was quoted as saying by the Malay-language Utusan Malaysia.

UMNO vice president Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly said it would be awkward for Mahathir to hold the positions given to him by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi while at the same time hurling accusations at the leader.

"It is up to Mahathir to consider it. I don't think the prime minister will ask him to do so because Abdullah is a well-mannered leader and always takes a neutral stance," Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by Malay-language Berita Harian.

Calls for Mahathir to resign were initiated at the weekend by Kedah chief state minister Mahdzir Khalid, a senior UNMO figure, who said the ex-premier's conduct had become an embarrassment.

"If (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," Mahdzir reportedly said.

Mahathir has accused his successor of nepotism, corruption and economic mismanagement during a months-long feud, but took his criticism up a notch last week when he said Abdullah was running a police state. - AFP /dt

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