KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) says he respects Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's decision to quit Umno, but at the same time, he remains hopeful that the former party president will reconsider the decision.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is an Umno vice-president and acting deputy president, said he was confident that the former prime minister still loves the party and knows that an Umno president would need support from all party members.
"I'm sure that as someone who has served as a prime minister for so long, Dr Mahathir knows that he had helmed (the party and country) because of the support from Umno members."
Dr Ahmad Zahid said this to reporters after opening the First Golden Dinar Awards 2016 at the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Convention Centre here on Monday night.
Dr Mahathir, 90, announced on Monday that he was once again resigning from Umno after doing it the first time on May 19, 2008 after reportedly losing confidence in the leadership of then prime minister and Umno president Datuk Seri (now Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
"I personally respect his decision, but I think he will reconsider the decision when the time comes," Dr Ahmad Zahid said.
Dr Mahathir, at a media conference at his office, the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya on Monday, announced that he and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, would leave Umno.
After leaving the party in 2008, Dr Mahathir rejoined Umno on April 4, 2009 when Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak assumed the national and party leadership.
Dr Mahathir had also been expelled from Umno on Sept 26, 1969 for disciplinary reasons during the administration of Tunku Abdul Rahman and returned to the party on March 7, 1972 during the era of Tun Abdul Razak.
When asked whether Dr Mahathir's decision would affect the party, Dr Ahmad Zahid said Umno must stay united to continue to win the hearts of the people.
"I reckon that what's important is to work together to rebuild the party especially to rebuild the confidence among the Malays and the Bumiputras and to make sure that Umno and Barisan Nasional continue receiving support from the people," he said.
At the event, 33 renowned businessmen received the Golden Dinar Award for their achievements.
Also present were Mimcoin president Datuk Syed Jamarulkhan S. Kadir and Special Ambassador of Infrastructure for South Asian Countries Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu. – Bernama
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