Dr M leaves UMNO, Sanusi Junid joins himPosted: May 19, 2008
I was so SO surprised when I read this piece of news on the Malaysian Insider:
Mahathir resigns, deepens crack in UMNO
KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Influential former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad quit Umno today after a long feud with his successor, deepening the cracks that appeared after the party’s recent massive electoral losses.
Dr Mahathir’s son Datuk Mokhzani said his father was leaving Umno with “immediate effect.”
He said his father’s decision was a sign of no confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is fighting for political survival with many party members calling for his resignation to take responsibility for the losses in the March 8 general elections.
“He has asked other members of the party to follow suit,” Mokhzani, a businessman, said. He said the former leader made the announcement in a speech in his home state of Kedah.
A senior Umno leader dismissed suggestions that the party would break up, saying Mahathir’s departure “is not that important.” He indicated that the party was glad to be rid of Mahathir’s disruptive influence.
“I welcome his decision. It is high time for him to leave”, said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a Cabinet minister and a member of Umno’s supreme council.
“He is old enough to decide. He has every right to do it but he shouldn’t urge members to follow him. It’s up to the members.”
I could hardly believe it. For all that he has done in the past month or so, I would never have expected it. And he was just talking to the UMNO gathering in Johor the other day, and he never mentioned this possibility at all.
What have the other people to say about this?
Dr M, Sanusi quit UMNO
ALOR STAR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and veteran party man Tan Sri Sanusi Junid announced Monday that they are quitting Umno.
Meanwhile, Abdullah [Ahmad Badawi] said he was shocked by the decision and, despite their differences, had not expected him to leave.
However, the beleaguered premier said he would stay on and fight for the party.
Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo said Dr Mahathir’s decision will affect public perception of Umno’s strength and possibly discourage youngsters from joining the party.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said it was a bad time for Dr Mahathir to quit Umno as the party was going through a difficult period.
He said the resignation would not help in efforts to rebuild Umno.
“He is doing more damage than good; whatever it is, the party is still looking for a new direction and we need everyone to remain united and not split,” he said.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said Dr Mahathir’s hatred for Abdullah was seemingly stronger than his love for Umno.
“What he is saying is that if you love Umno, leave Umno — it does not make sense,” he said.
Shahrir also said that Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir should be the first to take up his father’s suggestion to quit.
Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said he was surprised at the decision, but added that it was Dr Mahathir’s right to do so.
MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan called on Dr Mahathir to reconsider his decision.
Lumut Umno division chief Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir also urged Dr Mahathir to reconsider his decision.
[He] said Dr Mahathir was a great leader who provided a sense of direction and ideas for the party and country.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said Dr Mahathir’s decision would not solve the problems faced by the party and would instead give more strength to the Opposition.
Umno veteran and stalwart Tan Sri Aziz Tapa, 85, said that he was shocked at the news and was at a loss for words.
“How can it be when he (Mahathir) says that he loves Umno? I met him only few days ago in Johor and everything seemed okay. What he is doing is not right,” he said when contacted here on Monday.
Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik described the move as an “interesting but tragic development” for Umno.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said, “This will weaken the party at a time when it is facing its enemies.”
Full article here.
Events in UMNO has been turning out into a circus.
Who will follow Dr M? How many will really quit? Will they form a new political party like Semangat 46? Or will they quit UMNO and join PKR? Or would Dr M and his son be among the only ones who really do quit UMNO? Or will Mukhriz really quit?
So many questions, and I think the only way for us to get answers to them is to sit and wait it out. What will Pak Lah do? Tengku Adnan is already threatening to quit over the Lingam tape issue. And before one issue can be resolved, another crops up.
Could this be a ploy to draw our attention away from the investigations of the Lingam Tape? Who knows?
Pak Lah is having a very tough time. I wonder if it’s bad feng shui.