May 20, 2008

Mukhriz stays put but urges PM to go as soon as possible

Jerlun member of Parliament Mukhriz Mahathir today said he will not join his father in quitting Umno. Instead he urged party president and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down "as soon as possible".

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said he is not resigning from Umno, but reiterated his call for Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to step down as prime minister and party president.

The Jerlun MP, who is expected to contest for the post of Umno Youth chief in December, had previously called for Abdullah to step down after the March 8 polls that saw the Barisan Nasional coalition losing its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

On Monday, Mukhriz's father, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, resigned from the party, citing his dissatisfaction over the current leadership.

He urged other Umno members to also leave until there was a change in party leadership.

Father and son have both attributed -- directly in the case of the former -- Barisan's disappointing performance in the 12th general election to Abdullah.

After the polls, Mukhriz had written a letter to Abdullah urging him to take responsibility for the dismal results, but later denied that he had asked the Prime Minister to quit.

In April, Mukhriz said that a party leadership change should occur by the end of the year so that a tense contest can be avoided during the Umno annual assembly in December.

He said any contest during party polls could further fracture the party, and urged Abdullah to hand over the reins to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

On Monday, former premier Dr Mahathir announced that he would be quitting the party, much to the surprise of party members nationwide

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