KUALA LUMPUR: Political parties from both the ruling coalition and the opposition, said they are well-prepared for a general election, whether it is held after Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad steps down from office in October or during the remaining months of his term.
The opposition parties added, however, that the Prime Minister’s statement that there would not be any election before he left, , was just an effort to derail their preparations for polls.
Dr Mahathir had told Reuters that the date of the country’s next election would be decided by his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Umno leaders take the news as a clear message by the president, that he has full confidence and faith In Abdullah to lead the next elections.
Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said: “The statement made it clear to everyone on Dr Mahathir’s stand on the handover of power to his deputy.
“Barisan Nasional component party leaders should now emphasise activities to strengthen the ruling coalition and carry out their duties in the Government.”
Tan Sri Muhamad Muhamad Taib, also a Umno vice-president, said: “Barisan should now concentrate on resolving all internal problems and issues to ensure a bigger win.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said: ”The question on support and trust on Pak Lah’s leadership does not arise. He is more than able to lead.
Puteri Umno chief Azalina Othman Said: ”It will allow the new leadership to decide on the team. This is the package given to a successor who will take everything.”
Sabah Umno chief Datuk Musa Aman: “We will abide by any decision of the leadership with regards to the date of the elections.
MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Ting Chew Peh said the party was setting up general election committees at all levels, irrespective of whether the general elections would be held before or after October.
“What is most important is good service to the people and fulfilling our pledges to them,” he said.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said: ”As Dr Mahathir himself proposed the leadership change, it is not suitable to hold an election at this time. Also because the 13th NAM Summit and the Organisation of Islamic Conference are just around the corner, Dr Mahathir should stay at the helm until they are over.”
MIC Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran said: “The fact that Dr Mahathir had left the decision to Abdullah indicates his confidence in his deputy.”
People’s Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas said: ”He is at the pinnacle of his political career and as political maestro it is his way of telling everyone that the mandate should not only be from component parties of Barisan but also from the people.”
PAS Information chief Azizan Abdul Razak: “ We are not going to pay any heed to what is being said about the election. As far as PAS is concerned, it is ready at any time.”
Deputy Keadilan president Abdul Rahman Othman said: “Dr Mahathir contradicts a statement he made in Johor Baru recently that he would decide on the line-up. So, what is the reading here?
“The Keadilan machinery, like PAS, is ready. Umno is not ready. That is why we have contradicting statements again and again.”
DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock: “It is a wise decision because this gives the right to his (Dr Mahathir’s) successor to seek the people’s mandate for himself and his policies.”
“Dr Mahathir would, however, want to present his last Budget (in October) to express his gratitude to the people for having made him the nation’s longest serving Prime Minister,” he said.