Oct 20, 2006

Tun Mahathir - PM Abdullah "peace talk" this weekend

PUTRAJAYA: The highly awaited meeting between the Prime Minister and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is likely to take place over the weekend although the actual day and time have yet to be finalised.

However, it was learnt that the Prime Minister’s office has kept Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s diary clear of appointments through the weekend as well as Monday.

He has not committed even to any buka puasa function during the three days.

Abdullah has only one appointment on Saturday, that is, to attend the open house of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu after maghrib prayers.

Sources said it showed that the Prime Minister was sincere in wanting to accommodate Dr Mahathir’s choice of date because the former Premier had asked for at least two days' notice when expressing his willingness to meet.

The two men are scheduled to meet before Hari Raya, which is expected to fall on Tuesday. The meeting is likely to take place in Putrajaya.

His aides have also tried to keep today free. Abdullah only has the monthly staff assembly at the Finance Ministry in the morning.

A top Umno official said the meeting was on but declined to comment on when the two would meet.

“But don’t worry, we are determined to see it happen, even if it has to take place on a hill or in a tunnel,” the source said.

Some think that the hours after Friday prayers would be most suitable but today is also the first anniversary of Datin Seri Endon Mahmood’s death and Abdullah is expected to spend it with his family.

The family is expected to visit Endon’s grave and also have a private buka puasa at home.

Abdullah spent yesterday at his Kepala Batas base and returned to Putrajaya after midnight.

Dr Mahathir on Tuesday said that he was willing to sit and talk with Abdullah but said he would leave the date and place of the meeting to the Prime Minister.

His statement has been greeted with relief and hope because his scathing critique of Abdullah’s administration the past months have left many, especially in Umno, unsettled and confused.

The meeting was set in motion by the association for former wakil rakyat or Mubarak.

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