Good to let Pak Lah choose, says Mahathir


  • Nation
  • Monday, 27 Jan 2003

BY JANE RITIKOS

SUBANG: Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that it would be good for all party leaders to resign so that his deputy can make fresh appointments. 

“It is good. I suppose it will give Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) the chance to rearrange everything,” he told reporters.  

The Prime Minister, who had arrived at the RMAF base here from Davos, Switzerland, after attending the World Economic Forum, was commenting on the recent show of willingness by many Umno leaders, including the Pahang Mentri Besar, to step down. 

Home sweet home: Dr Mahathir hugging his grandchildren upon arrival at the Subang RMAF base on Sunday morning. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik were among those present to welcome the PM back.

Dr Mahathir added that some leaders had been around for a long time. 

“Some for as long as I have been Prime Minister - they were appointed by me. I think Pak Lah should have a chance to appoint (people to the various posts) himself.  

“It is good if everybody resigns.” 

At this point, those present at the press conference laughed, to which Dr Mahathir said: “I am serious ... (it is good) if we all resign and see new appointments.'' 

Leaders, he added, should not cling to their posts and regard the posts as permanently theirs. 

The issue of replacing current leaders with new faces arose following the recent reshuffle in the Kelantan Umno state liaison committee. 

Dr Mahathir, who announced the reshuffle on Jan 16, had said that there was a need to come up with new faces “as part of the constant rejuvenation of the leadership.” 

This led to talk of possible shake-ups in other states to further strengthen Umno, and among those named were Terengganu, Kedah, Perak, Perlis and Malacca. 

Perak Umno secretary Datuk Ramly Zahari recently said that five state assemblymen had pledged to give way to new faces in the next general election. 

Last Wednesday, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain said changes would be made in the state line-up if the party leadership saw the need while Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob announced that he and all state executive councillors were willing to step down in favour of new faces in the next elections. 

 

Dr Mahathir addresses the crowd that turned up to welcome him home.

On another matter, the Prime Minister said Malaysia was increasingly recognised as a model Islamic state by other countries. 

He said Malaysia was acknowledged as such in Lebanon, Egypt and Switzerland, which he had visited during his week-long working trip. 

“It is true. Everyone of them ? all the Cabinet members (of Lebanon) and President (Emile) Lahoud, who is a Christian, view Malaysia as a model Islamic state.” 

Asked why PAS refused to acknowledge that Malaysia, under Barisan Nasional, was a model Islamic state, he said the opposition party would never admit this as doing so would mean that it had to “close shop.” 

On reports that PAS had used zakat funds to finance the education of the children of two of its Terengganu executive councillors, Dr Mahathir said he was concerned that such practices would deny the poor and more deserving people of these funds. 

He also said that this sort of allocation was not wise as it did not meet Islamic conditions for the disbursement of zakat funds.  

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