KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is not attending the Umno general assembly for the first time in 30 years, says he is sad he cannot attend the event as he is abroad.
The former party president, however, wished all delegates a happy assembly and sent his regards.
Dr Mahathir, who led the party for 22 years before stepping down in 2002, extended his greetings to the delegates in a letter to party secretary-general Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad.
Radzi read out the contents of the letter when he tabled his report at the 56th general assembly yesterday.
Dr Mahathir and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, are holidaying in Argentina and were due to be in Colombia today at the invitation of that country.
They are expected to return home on Sunday morning.
Radzi also welcomed 93 foreign delegates, who represented 28 political parties from 26 countries.
This is the biggest number of foreign delegates in the history of the Umno general assembly, he said.
Radzi also welcomed representatives from 53 Umno clubs overseas, including those from Britain, Indonesia, Australia, Egypt and the United States.
On the partys membership, he said it now had 3,301,415 members in 19,680 registered branches.
There are 2,531 delegates attending the general assembly. Bernama
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