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Published: Monday November 2, 2009 MYT 6:58:00 PM

DPM meets Umno backbenchers who asked ministers to quit

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) were summoned to a meeting with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at Parliament House on Monday over their call for two ministers to resign.

Bung Mokhtar, who said the meeting lasted some 30 minutes, said there was no mention of any disciplinary action.

“The meeting was a normal one. It was like a father-to-son meeting. The Deputy Prime Minister advised Barisan Nasional backbenchers to focus more on the needs of the people,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Mohamad, who said he was willing to face the consequences from Umno following his statement, added that he would not back down from his call in the Dewan last week for Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to resign from their ministerial posts.

“I will not overturn my statement. I’m not disputing the Prime Minister’s powers to appoint Cabinet members but I have my own evaluations on this matter,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

He said the Prime Minister took great strides to bring positve changes to the country, adding: “We should support him and his Cabinet.”

On Thursday, Mohamad called for Ong and Dr Koh to resign from their posts, saying that Ong had lost the confidence of his party and that Dr Koh had lost an entire state.

Bung Mokhtar had supported that call.

Mohamad said he was not against the MCA or Gerakan.

“If I’m wrong, then I’m willing to face punishment. If I’m not guilty, then I will defend myself. You heard what I had said that day. I have millions of fans in the country, whether they are Malays, Chinese and Indians, just like a film star,” he added.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said no one should question his prerogative to appoint ministers.

Najib said Dr Koh was chosen as a minister because he valued Gerakan’s participation in the Government.

Ong’s political secretary Simon Lim said it was up to the Prime Minister, the party and the people to decide whether Ong or any minister had failed to live up to expectations.

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