Apr 11, 2008

PM Abdullah acknowledges he is a factor in BN's reduced votes

It is time to announce his resignation?.

(NST)“I feel I am the reason for the spoilt votes for the Barisan Nasional. And I feel responsible to do what’s best to rehabilitate the BN and Umno,” he told reporters here today.

The Prime Minister said this to reporters after attending a meeting with the Johor Umno Liaison Body headed by Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who is also the Johor Menteri Besar.

Also present at the meeting were International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Umno vice-president, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Speaking to reporters later, Abdul Ghani pledged that Johor Umno will continue supporting Abdullah as party president and prime minister.

Vowing to help Abdullah rebuild the Umno, he said Johor Umno will also support the Umno president if he wishes to defend his post in the party’s election in December.

On the leadership succession, Ghani made it clear that this should be done after the party elections.

Earlier, in PUTRAJAYA, Abdullah warned Umno members vying for party posts in its December elections from being involved in money politics, NST's Hamidah Atan reports.

While members were allowed to campaign freely, they must avoid money politics at all costs, he said.

“There is no problem for them to campaign. What is politics without campaigns, anyway? Go ahead. In those years, we also had campaigns where we were taken to the states to be introduced to party supporters.

“We also had to tell supporters what we intended to do if we won,” he said after chairing a meeting of national Islamic Council committee at the Islamic Development Department here.

Abdullah, however, cautioned members from being involved in fights and arguments that could create division within Umno.

“The one that we want to nominate should be one that we know and understand. Otherwise, there is no way he or she can be accepted.”
Although there were no restrictions imposed, Abdullah said the campaigns should be organised and proper.

“Do not go around condemning other people, saying this is no good and so on. Campaigns should not be held with the intention of creating ill-feelings for the others.

“We allow them to campaign but it must be done in accordance with party procedures and rules. This is what really matters.”

He said in the recent supreme council meeting, Umno leaders were unanimous in agreeing that money politics be curbed.

“Do not make it a culture to throw money for campaigns just to yield influence from party supporters. Do not ever get involved as it will be detrimental to Umno.”

Abdullah also said the quota system for nominations for the party’s top posts would remain. “This was also decided upon during the supreme council meeting.”

He said if the system was to be abolished, a special meeting had to be convened.

On the calls by Umno leaders for a meeting between Abdullah and former Umno president and prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said “we will see when there are reasons (to do so)”.

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