Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mat Taib jabs Dr M, defends Pak Lah

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Apr 2, 08 8:07pm

Umno information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib today lashed out at former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad for launching scathing attacks on his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Defending his party president during a press conference at his Rural And Regional Development Ministry in Putrajaya, Muhammad said people should stop pointing fingers at Abdullah.

"What Mahathir and people are doing now is very, very wrong. It is not fair to point fingers at one person when everybody knows there were many contributing factors.

"It is very unfair to dump the blame on the PM. This is unfair and done in bad faith," he said.

Muhammad was referring to "unfair" comments from Mahathir made at a forum yesterday on how Abdullah was shameless in refusing to resign for Barisan Nasional’s biggest election setback last month.

'Not a level playing field'

He pointed out that there were also other contributing factors to BN’s performance including the role played by bloggers, news portals and short messaging service (SMS).

"It wasn’t a level-playing field (between the BN and opposition). BN did not use the portals, SMS and ICT (information and communications technology) to the fullest," he said.

Muhammad noted that the BN lost in the "virtual elections" while opposition had cashed in on using video CDs showing temple demolitions which caused the swing of Indian voters.

The former Selangor mentri besar also questioned why are the people picking on Abdullah when other leaders have also previously lost in the elections.

"We lost Terengganu in 1999. How come nobody asked Mahathir to step down then? When PAS lost Terengganu in 2004, how come nobody told (PAS spiritual leader) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to step down?" he quizzed.

Muhammad noted that Mahathir was a good leader but his comments are not helping the party at this particular time.

"We are trying to fight one person but our guru is hitting us at the same time. Nobody can call for Mahathir to be disciplined because he is kebal (untouchable). This is too much," he told reporters.

Football analogy

Asked whether ‘yes-men’ in the party had made Abdullah’s administration different from his predecessor, Muhammad said ‘no’.

"The ‘yes-men’ did not make a difference to the administration. I was under Mahathir since 1982 for 11 years. I think the way they did business and dealt with things is almost the same," he asserted.

"Leaders are saying things that are pedas (scathing), bebankan (burdensome) and they label Pak Lah with all kinds of labels. That’s unfair," he added.

The Umno veteran also said that what some party leaders are trying to do in abolishing the nominations quota system is like changing the rules of a football game.

"It is like changing the rules [...] and the goalpost itself while the game is going on. It should happen after the game," he said.

With that, Muhammad stressed that the abolition of the nominations system should be done after the party’s elections in December this year.


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