Published: Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 02:22 AM Doha Time
KUALA LUMPUR: The son of former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamed yesterday asked Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down from office following the ruling coalition’s election debacle at the weekend.
Mukhriz Mahathir is the first figure from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to demand that Abdullah quit, although his father has also urged him to resign over the party’s worst election setback in its 50-year rule.
Islamists and left-wing opposition parties won control of five of Malaysia’s 13 state assemblies and just over a third of federal parliament, prompting speculation Abdullah would quit to take responsibility.
“If you do not resign in the near future, I fear the situation will become untenable and Malay support for UMNO and the coalition will be a thing of the past,” Mukhriz said in a letter released to media yesterday.
Nazri Aziz, law minister in the pre-election cabinet and UMNO supreme council member, poured scorn on Mukhriz.
“It will be very irresponsible to leave now,” Nazri said. “Being a responsible leader, he should make sure the party is strengthened. (Mukhriz) is a disgruntled young man. He is like a puppet. The father is controlling him.”
In Penang, one of the states that fell to the opposition, hundreds of UMNO supporters gathered at the state government house to protest against the new regime. – Reuters