Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just News: TDM's back, GE Campaign Period and UMNO EGM

He has not been saying much on local political issues since his operations at IJN. There was comment related to the Royal Commission after the book launch at PLF. A short cynical remark, and the attempted spin or slow reception by Dato Ali Rastam, at the launch of TDM's bread venture in KL last week.

Yesterday, Reuters reported on Tun Dr Mahathir, prior to the launch of his latest book containing selected letters to world leaders, for today. The report in full below:

Malaysia’s Mahathir sees no easing of rift with PM

Tue Jan 29, 2008 Reuters

By Jalil Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday he would remain a thorn in the side of his successor in the run-up to elections, and would continue to speak his mind.

Until subdued by heart problems last year, the outspoken Mahathir was the most vocal critic of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, accusing his government of lacking “guts” and selling out Malaysian sovereignty.

“I still disagree on several of his policies, mainly allowing Malaysians to be subject to Singapore’s wishes,” the 82-year-old told select foreign media in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s launch of his new book.

The book published for the first time his personal correspondence with world leaders including U.S. President George W. Bush, on issues ranging from terrorism to Islam and Myanmar.

“We are not as independent as before in terms of our attitude towards international affairs,” said Mahathir, who ruled the nation for 22 years with an iron grip. “We tend to be very accommodative.”


In the interview, he took Abdullah to task for “wasting (public) money”, dismissed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as a “daydreamer” and asserted that the domestic economy was in “bad shape” without a rally in commodity prices.

Mahathir said Abdullah’s ruling front would be returned with a strong majority in the polls, widely expected by March, but said voters must get rid of dead wood in the coalition.

“But there are certain people whose contribution is negative. These people should not be chosen as candidates,” Mahathir, wearing a collarless Nehru suit, said at his office in the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers.

“I still support the party and I still believe the party will win with a good majority but one must not confuse support for the party with support for the individual,” he said.

On Anwar, Mahathir said his political enemy would not be a major factor in the coming elections.

“He’s not a real factor,” he said. “There’s no more political future for him. If he thinks he’s going to be the prime minister, it’s daydreaming of the worst kind.”

A charismatic speaker, Anwar was sacked from government in 1998 after falling out with Mahathir. Anwar then led street protests before he was arrested and later jailed on what he called trumped-up charges of graft and sodomy.

Released in 2004, his corruption conviction means he cannot stand for elected office or hold political office until April this year.

Mahathir, who has a history of heart problem, underwent a heart bypass in September and doctors have advised him to cut down on travel and other activities, including horse-riding.

The operation was Mahathir’s second such surgery since 1989 and followed two heart attacks over the past 13 months.

His quarrel with Abdullah came to the fore after the government scrapped Mahathir’s idea to replace a causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore with a bridge.

Asked if Abdullah should quit, he replied: “It is up to him to decide. It’s also up to the people to decide. If the people want him to move on, if they think his administration is not benefiting them, they should make a decision.”
It surprises me to hear the repeat of his critics with the General Election expected to be just around the corner. Or will there be a General Election with Pak Lah in the most pathetic situation in the latest released Merdeka Centre survey at a 61% public approval? It seems one set of "advisers" advise him not to have it. While another set of "advisers" desperately needed the new mandate last year to justify and implement their "plans" fast. For pondering, if you read this blog Pak Lah, TDM's approval rating never got this low under the Reformasi onslaught but did some dent.

Whatever will Flip Flop Pak Lah decide of the General Election date, it will be an election of personality over party. Heard over the grapevine that it will be a short campaign period. Most likely, the public will likely vote for candidate they are personally familiar. Thus, letting the public know the candidates early will be a lead start.

Still on TDM's news report, let's not forget that UMNO needs to hold it's own party election by the latest end of June. Hmmm ... will there be a delay around the corner? Perhasp, an Extraordinary General Meeting for another 18 months? Will Pak Lah dare to attempt it when Division heads leaving the hall in midst of the UMNO President's speech? Another 18 months will add into the book of tips of how to prolong the shelf life of "defective good" by 3 years?

TDM is due to launch his latest book at the Perdana leadership foundation office at Presinct 8, Putrajaya at 10:00 pm today, Wednesday. More remarks coming?

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