Oct 23, 2006

No Ban On Dr M To Meet Umno Members, Says Mat Taib

No Ban On Dr M To Meet Umno Members, Says Mat Taib

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 (Bernama) -- It is not true and has been misinterpreted the claim by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he was barred from meeting Umno members, says party information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

Instead, he said, party members did not want to see the former prime minister seizing such opportunities to criticise the party leadership, particularly Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"The perception that there is a ban on Dr Mahathir not to meet party members or open divisional delegates conferences is actually not a condition imposed.

"But Umno, especially divisional leaders, feel he will criticise the leadership, especially Pak Lah. So, we don't like the forum to be used to attack the party," he told Bernama when responding to Dr Mahathir's remark that there were attempts to stop him from talking to party members.

Dr Mahathir, who is also former Umno president, made the remark after a "one-on-one" meeting with Abdullah at the prime minister's official residence "Seri Perdana" in Putrajaya Sunday.

Touching on the meeting regarded as a success as Abdullah had the opportunity to hear directly the grievances of Dr Mahathir, Muhammad said the prime minister was open-minded and receptive to views from others.

On postponement of the Umno elections which Dr Mahathir disagreed, Muhammad said this was not a problem as the supreme council had deferred the elections in the past.

"This has been in practice," said the former Selangor Menteri Besar.

Responding to Dr Mahathir's stand that he would continue to criticise the current administration if he felt something detrimental to the country was done, Muhammad said: "Dr Mahathir is free to give his views but he must let Pak Lah to run the country.

"Pak Lah is the prime minister now, we have only one prime minister whom we support."


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