Oct 17, 2006

Tun Mahathir agrees for "peace talk" with PM Abdullah

Extracted from BERNAMA
Dr M Agrees To Meet Abdullah

LANGKAWI, Oct 17 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi soon to settle their differences.

The former prime minister said he was willing to meet Abdullah as proposed recently by Mubarak, the former elected representatives' council.

"I agree. Just waiting for the appointment. (As) PM (Prime Minister), he has a tight schedule," he told reporters after meeting seven Muslim community leaders from southern Thailand at Kampung Tok Senik, Resort here Tuesday.

Asked whether he agreed for the meeting to be arranged during the holy month of Ramadan, Dr Mahathir, who is also former Umno president, said he also agreed if the meeting could be held before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

"At the meeting I will raise again the issues that I've been keeping in my heart since I left the government.

"It's up to the prime minister (whether to accept or reject)," he said.

Asked what are the issues he intend to raise at the meeting, Dr Mahathir merely said: "Wait for the meeting day."

"Yes, that's it," was his short response when pressed whether he would raise again the same issues he had voiced out before.

The former prime minister had criticised Abdullah's leadership over several decisions made by the latter's administration including cancelling the "scenic" bridge project to replace the Johor Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore.

The project was initiated by Dr Mahathir during his premiership.

On his 30-minute meeting with the Thai Muslim community leaders led by Mudir Maahad Darul Makrifah, head of a religious school from Pattani, he said discussions centred on the needs of the Thai Muslim community including drug menace, unemployment and requirement for more mosques.

Dr Mahathir said he agreed to raise funds to build a mosque in Pasir Jawa at Pattani province for the religious needs of the Muslims there.

"I don't know the cost yet. We've not drawn the plan yet," he told the press conference also attended by Langkawi Member of Parliament Datuk Abu Bakar Taib. Dr Mahathir said building a mosque in southern Thailand was his first contribution in the southern province of a neighbouring country after he retired as prime minister.

According to the initial proposal, the mosque would be named "Masjid Aman", he said.

Dr Mahathir said today's meeting with the Thai Muslim leaders was to fulfil their wish to meet him and to break fast together.

"I was not given the mandate by anybody to meet the leaders," he added.


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