Apr 4, 2008

Tun Mahathir : UMNO Extra-ordinary General Meeting must go on

Tun Mahathir said the EGM could be held if the majority of Umno's Supreme Council (MT) members supported it and could serve as a platform for members to voice their views.

HULU LANGAT, April 3 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Thursday reiterated his call for Umno to hold an extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) for the well-being of the party as well as to discuss the party's poor performance during the last general election.

He said among others, the EGM could discuss amendments to the party constitution, including the matter of abolishing its nomination quota system, which would permit members to contest top party posts at the Annual General meeting (AGM) in December without having to secure the minimum nominations as stipulated at present.

"If we disregard Umno members views and arrogantly dismiss their demands it might lead to a total rejection of Umno especially if the opposition alliance show they can provide better governance. If something is not done, my fear is that Umno may lose out completely.

"If we believe in the well-being of the people and being transparent, there is nothing better we can do than to respond to their demands," he told reporters in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Wednesday denying speculation that he would step down as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir had earlier launched the Rotary Youth Club Awards (RYCA) here Thursday.

Speculation on the matter arose following calls by some leaders, including Mahathir, that Abdullah should step down to assume responsibility for the Barisan Nasional's poor showing in the March 8 general election.

Mahathir said the EGM could be held if the majority of Umno's Supreme Council (MT) members supported it and could serve as a platform for members to voice their views.

He said that contrary to what people said about him, when he was prime minister he always gave people the opportunity to voice their views even if they were opposed to his.

"An example was when Datuk Musa Hitam (now Tun) quit as the deputy prime minister. I gave everyone a chance to speak on it and though I did not favour it, they proposed to send a delegation to meet him in London to try and persuade him to change his mind.

"When he (Musa) decided he wanted to become deputy president (of Umno), he got the post. I did not try to prevent it because it was the wish of the MT for him to take up the post, not mine," he said.

He did not deny there had been "yes men" during his time but said those who were vehemently against him never got thrown out of Umno or were stopped from speaking.

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