Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dr Mahathir’s exit not good for Umno, says Rais Yatim

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's exit from Umno will not be good for the party and could cause a crisis, former minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim said, in a contrasting view to other party leaders who have dismissed the impact of the former prime minister's move to quit the ruling Malay party. Utusan Malaysia reported Rais as saying that Dr Mahathir was a powerful and articulate leader even in the international arena, and his latest action would be hard to digest. Rais said while he respected Dr Mahathir's decision, he could not forget the former prime minister's contributions during his 22-year rule. "If this trend continues, where all the top leaders leave the party, as has happened before, including me, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Datuk Musa (Tun Musa Hitam), Tunku Abdul Rahman, it could result in what happened in 1987 and 1988 ( when Umno was declared illegal). "This will cause a crisis in Umno in the future. "The way Dr Mahathir is trying to get attention and garner dissent towards the leadership by leaving the party will not have a positive impact on the whole. "It is better for him to remind the leadership to be rational and maintain order by following procedure and discipline, not by leaving the party," Utusan quoted Rais as saying. Rais, now the government's cultural adviser, said Umno was not in a strong position as in addition to Dr Mahathir's leaving, other party leaders were now on the "outside". He said these included Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who has been suspended as Umno deputy president and vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal. Rais also called for a stop to negative and damaging statements that could hurt Umno further, especially statements that dismissed Dr Mahathir. "We have to maintain respect in Umno and be mindful of the way we think and act in the party. "Remarks like 'good that he left', 'easier for us to restructure', are not going to help the struggle of championing the Malays," Rais said. He said all Umno members should focus on winning the next elections, due in 2018, as it would not be an easy task. Rais described this year as the "most difficult year" for Umno, apart from 1987 when the party was split over a leadership crisis resulting in the formation of Umno Baru. Rais also said it was good enough that Dr Mahathir has made it clear that he was not joining the opposition. "This proves his love for Umno is still alive. "There is still hope," he said.– March 2, 2016.]]>

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