Nov 1, 2006

I will not step down from advisory posts - Tun Mahathir

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he will not step down from various positions as advisor to government-linked companies and agencies.

He indicated this to representatives of the association of former members of Parliament and state assemblypersons (Mubarak) during a meeting at the Perdana Leadership foundation on Monday.

Mubarak member Othman Abdul claimed that Mahathir would let the government decide whether or not to sack him from the posts.

“Mahathir told us that he would prefer to be sacked rather than to resign as advisor to Petronas, Proton and Lada (Langkawi Development Authority),” he said when contacted by malaysiakini today.

Three other Mubarak representatives at the meeting were acting president Abu Zahar Ujang, Zaleha Ismail and Badri Yunus.

Mahathir was said to have stressed that the formation of Petronas, Proton and Lada, was based on his initiative.

Othman, the former Pendang parliamentarian said Mahathir told them he only receives a monthly allowance from Petronas. He gets nothing from Proton and Lada.

Losing popularity

In a related development, Bernama quoted Mahathir as saying that he will accept whatever decision by the government regarding his status as advisor to several government agencies.

He is also willing to adhere to any decision made by the party as to his membership.

“I will also abide (by the decision) if the Umno supreme council wants to suspend my party membership,” he told reporters in Langkawi.

He also said that it was within the rights of all Umno leaders and the party to call for actions to be taken against him - be it the termination of his advisory role or the suspension of his Umno membership.

He said that anything could be done to him now that he was no longer popular.

“I will not object. I will abide because all this is their right as the government and party,” he said.

Alluding that steps were being taken to continuously sideline him, Mahathir said that two functions in which he was supposed to attend was cancelled at the last minute.

“I'm supposed to attend a function organised by Perkida in Johor today and a function organised by a non-governmental organisation in Baling on Nov 3. But both functions have been cancelled.

“This shows that I'm becoming more unpopular,” he said.

The former premier also said that he was seriously considering a suggestion by the Kubang Pasu Umno division not to be overly critical of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Mahathir had led the division for 30 years until his retirement in 2003.

He also said that he was still undecided whether to attend the Umno annual general assembly which begins on Nov 13.

Supreme council meeting

Various Umno leaders have questioned if Mahathir should continue to serve as advisor to these government agencies if he has no confidence in Abdullah's leadership.

Leading the group was Kedah Menteri Besar Mahadzir Khalid who on Monday called on Mahathir to resign if he insists on continuing his open criticism of Abdullah.

Mahadzir reportedly said “it’s better (for him) to drop all his posts and become a normal individual with no ties with the government. If not, what’s the use of being advisor (to those companies)?”

Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Mohamed Khaled Nordin said it was now time for Umno and the government to act firmly against Mahathir, including reviewing his advisory posts.

Mohamed Khaled said it was important to let Mahathir know that his criticism of Abdullah is unacceptable to the party and the government.

However, he said the final decision to end Mahathir’s services is in the hands of the prime minister.

The supreme council is expected to discuss Mahathir’s position in the government agencies and companies tomorrow.

-- MalaysiaKini

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