May 28, 2008

Tun Mahathir returns from Japan

Tun Mahathir returns from Japan after attending the Nikkei International Conference in Japan last week. Soon after he touched down at Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Mahathir Mohamad couldn't resist firing yet another salvo at his handpicked successor-turn-nemesis Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

(Malaysiakini) Soon after he touched down at Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Mahathir Mohamad couldn't resist firing yet another salvo at his handpicked successor-turn-nemesis Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He's more afraid of Singapore than Umno members,” the former premier told a crowd of 300 supporters who had gathered to welcome him back from a week-long overseas trip.

Mahathir, who spoke to his supporters through a loud-hailer for about five minutes from the sunroof of a silver multi-purpose van (MPV), accused Abdullah as a traitor.

“Negara cet tu ja pun dia takut (He is afraid of even a tiny country). What kind of a leader is he?” he thundered as the crowd chanted, “Abdullah undur!” (Abdullah step down!)

While Mahathir did not mention Pulau Batu Puteh, he was clearly referring to last Friday’s International Court of Justice decision against Malaysia in its dispute with Singapore over the sovereignty of the strategic uninhabited island south of Johor.

The ex-PM has just returned from Japan after addressing the annual Nikkei conference which was also incidentally attended by Abdullah. The two protagonists however addressed the event on separate days.

“When I was Umno president, he was never loyal to me, but I never made it look like he was not loyal to the party. I let him contest for the vice-presidency, the deputy presidency and now he is the president,” he said, looking fresh in a pin-stripe light blue shirt and a smart grey jacket.

Mahathir also blasted Abdullah as a manipulator who “label those who oppose him as traitors to the party”.

“I am not acting on any pressure,” Mahathir continued, “I am doing this because Umno under Abdullah has forgotten its roots, its struggle for the party - for the Malays and for the nation.”

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