Apr 1, 2008

Zainuddin Likens Mahathir To 'Thorn In The Flesh'

Zainuddin said Dr Mahathir's statement that he regretted appointing Abdullah as prime minister was detrimental to Umno and prompted the party to muster its strength in backing Abdullah.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Bernama) -- Former Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin has likened the protracted criticisms levelled by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad against Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's leadership as "a thorn in the flesh" which has eroded the people's confidence in the country's administration, Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

Zainuddin said Dr Mahathir's statement that he regretted appointing Abdullah as prime minister was detrimental to Umno and prompted the party to muster its strength in backing Abdullah.

"It cannot be denied that the statement was a thorn in the flesh which had permeated in Umno," he said in a statement Monday.

Zainuddin said Abdullah's credibility was further tested when Dr Mahathir said in the run-up to the general election recently that Abdullah was only meant to be a one-term prime minister and that more opposition members were needed in Parliament.

He said among Dr Mahathir's statements which had poisoned the minds of not only the Malays but also non-Malay professionals and academicians was about the role of Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin and the fourth floor (of the Prime Minister's Department) advisers in the country's politics and economy.

"Maybe he (Dr Mahathir) is not aware or he purposely does not want to acknowledge that his credibility as former prime minister is still strong and that his influence as a legendary leader on the grassroots is well entrenched.

"So, his contribution in eroding the people's confidence (against BN) surpasses the influence of the bloggers and websites... his words are poisonous and venomous," said Zainuddin.

He said Dr Mahathir himself did not expect the seeds of discord which he sowed since Abdullah helmed the country, especially after the scrapping of the proposed crooked bridge over the Tebrau Straits, had swayed the people to cast "protest votes" against the BN.

Zainuddin said as a result, the recent general election became the blackest day which had erased the history of the BN's might.

"As such, putting the blame on BN's dismal performance squarely on Abdullah's leadership is unwise because it is clear that the hands that built it also destroys it out of vengeance and unbridled anger," he said.

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