Apr 22, 2008

Najib says he is not a coward while Rais declines Tun Mahathir's suggestion

Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim when asked about remarks by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said "Thanks but no thanks".

PUTRAJAYA, April 21 (Bernama) -- "Thanks but no thanks," said Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim when asked about remarks by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Sunday.

Mahathir was reported to have said Sunday that he had no confidence in Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in taking over as prime minister, and named Rais, besides Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to vie for the post.

Rais, who is Foreign Minister, said while he thanked the former prime minister for the suggestion, he was not interested in the post.

"On the one hand, I thank him (Dr Mahathir). On the other, no thank you... I cannot... I mean I cannot take part in that kind of suggestion. I am comfortable as I am," he said to the press here Monday.

When asked whether he was comfortable with such a comment, Rais said there was no need for him to express whether he was comfortable about it or not.

"Tun Dr Mahathir has been our leader and he has done a lot, and our Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) is doing his best to build the country.

"Therefore, we should take the middle score, that is not to create problems," said Rais who saw Najib as the best candidate for the top leadership post.

Last Monday, Rais also announced that he would not be contesting for any post in the Umno elections in December, but would be playing a role in uniting and strengthening the party.

While DPM Najib said he is not a coward as per Tun Mahathir.
(Malaysiakini) Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today dismissed a claim by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he was a coward for failing to speak up about the real reasons behind the Barisan Nasional's dismal performance in the recent general election.

"I'm not a coward," the Umno deputy president said when asked to comment on Mahathir's claim made in Manchester, England, on Saturday.

Mahathir had said that he had second thoughts about Najib becoming the prime minister because the former prime minister claimed that Najib was not "brave enough" to directly say anything that was not liked by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

According to Bernama today, Najib said: "It is not a question of being 'Mr Yes Man' or being not brave enough or afraid because I hold to the principle that the best way is to have an organised transfer of power, in a respectable way.”

“That would be meaningful and would determine that the party's interests are not undermined," he told reporters.

The deputy prime minister said Umno's history would show that the transfer of power from the first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, to Abdul Razak Hussein proceeded smoothly.

"The late Hussein Onn handed over the office of prime minister to Mahathir also in a proper way, with tradition dictating the best way practised in the party.

"In my opinion, that's the best way and method for us to execute a change in the country's leadership, as was stated by the prime minister and party president," he said.

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