Mar 22, 2008

Ku Li gets the backing of Tun Mahathir

Tun Mahathir supported the call by Ku Li for an emergency meeting for UMNO to discuss the recent election setback. However, Tun Mahathir denied that he is endorsing Ku Li for the post of UMNO President.

(Malaysiakini) Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he supported the call by veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for an emergency general meeting for the party to discuss its electoral setback in the March 8 polls.

However, he denied endorsing Razaleigh in his bid for the Umno presidency.

When pressed if he would back Razaleigh for the post, he said: "If I endorse him for the president's position, others will want it too."

mahathir book event 210308 01As for the EGM, Mahathir said: "I was told that Razaleigh has written letters to all the Umno divisions asking for an EGM to discuss problems affecting Malays. I support that suggestion.

"The issue of selecting the next president should only be discussed after we have thrashed out our problems.

"This is because there might be other people who are interested in the position," he told reporters after attending a book launch in Kuala Lumpur.

"Furthermore, to challenge for the Umno presidency he needs support from delegates from 60 divisions. I don't see 60 divisions brave enough to back him."

tengku razaleigh 02It was reported on Wednesday that Razaleigh wants to contest for presidency.

In 2004, he tried to challenge Prime Minister and Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi but failed to obtain the necessary nominations. He received only one from his Gua Musang division.

Razaleigh had also previously challenged and narrowly lost to Mahathir in the 1987 party elections. This subsequently caused a split within the party with Razaleigh forming a splinter group, Semangat 46.

He was later invited back into the Umno fold by Mahathir in 1996 when he dissolved Semangat 46 and brought back all its members into Umno.

Razaleigh today found support on his call for an EGM from another unlikely source - party vice-president Muhyiddin Yassin - who said that he does not foresee any problems in holding one.

However, he said that the meeting must be held in accordance to the party’s constitution.

"Please keep in mind that any action taken should not weaken the party, which will be an additional burden.

"If it is for the betterment of the party, we cannot stop it. Otherwise, rethink what the end result will be," he added.

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