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Monday April 7, 2008

PM blames loss of Kedah and Perak on Umno members


KUALA LUMPUR: Sabotage by Umno members caused Barisan Nasional to lose Perak and Kedah to the Opposition, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The party president and Prime Minister said acts of sabotage had taken place in 14 parliamentary and 22 state constituencies in these two states during the March general election.

“The act of sabotage has already taken place. If not for it, we would not have lost the two-thirds majority and two state governments. We would not have lost Perak and Kedah if not for the act by our own party members,” he told reporters after a closed-door briefing session with about 1,000 Umno grassroots leaders at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.

“I explained to party members that we could have won 14 parliamentary constituencies which are ‘white’ areas. Similarly, based on the party’s analysis and information, actually we could have won 22 state constituencies, but the sabotage took place. This led to us to losing two state governments. This is truly regrettable.”

All ears: Some of the Umno members attending the briefing given by Abdullah at the PWTC.

Abdullah said disciplinary action would be taken against the saboteurs.

Asked why the act of sabotage had taken place and what kind of action would be taken against the saboteurs, Abdullah said: “It is a matter for the party’s disciplinary committee. Leave it to the committee to decide.”

He declined to elaborate, saying that he would present the matter to the committee.

“There is no need for me to give the details before the committee receives the report,” he said.

Abdullah said he was prepared to go to the ground to meet party leaders and explain to them the factors contributing to Barisan’s dismal performance in the elections.

“I have started by going to Sawarak to listen to issues that party members want to raise and I will go to Sabah on Monday (today),” he said, adding that his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would meet party leaders followed by party management committee members.

On when he would meet grassroots members, he said: “Let’s do it one at a time.”

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said sabotage was one of the issues emphasised by the party president and the party would carry out investigations against those involved.

Asked on who were behind the sabotage, Muhammad said: “One example is those who were dropped and later did not support the nominated candidate and told voters to back the Opposition.”

On what type of disciplinary action could possibly be taken against the culprits, he said: “That will be left to the disciplinary committee. It’s for them to study, investigate and make recommendations.”

He said there was no time frame given to the committee to take action against those involved.

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