Saturday, March 15, 2008


(as in NST online

Umno vice-presidents Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said Mukhriz's action would only divide the party.

"He should not have written the letter as it would only weaken the party further," Ali said.

Muhyiddin said Mukhriz had the right to express himself but as an Umno member, he should be loyal to the leadership.

He said calling for Abdullah's resignation was a knee-jerk reaction to the party's crisis.

"After the shock we've had from the election results, many are angry and depressed and feel their only recourse is to ask the prime minister to resign.

"That is not the solution. We need to first hold the fort, to rally everybody around the leadership in order to get the party back on its feet," Muhyiddin said.

Both vice-presidents said Mukhriz had put Umno in a bind as to whether disciplinary action should be taken against him. The decision now rests with the party's supreme council.

Muhyiddin said: "We cannot be rash. He is still an Umno member and we don't want him to become a stray MP. Right now, we cannot afford to sacrifice a single MP in parliament because we only have a simple majority."

Ali noted the quandary Umno was in. "I would advise him to stop making more comments. There is already tension in the party and if we take disciplinary action against him, it will create further tension among his supporters. He's putting us in a difficult position."

Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein dissociated his movement from Mukhriz's statement. Mukhriz is an exco member in Umno Youth.

"This is not the stand of the Pemuda," he said.

"As I said earlier, Umno Youth is behind the prime minister and deputy prime minister.

"If his (Mukhriz) statement is a personal view, I do not think this is the right way or time to make it. What is important now is to focus on reorganising the party."

Puteri Umno head Datuk Noraini Ahmad took the same line.

"Now is not the time to blame each other or anyone. I know he is entitled to his views but I call on all Umno members to support Pak Lah."

~ BERITADARIGUNUNG. We have seen expulsion before. Names like Ibrahim Ali, Zaid and Sang Kelembai will ring. I miss the quick response of KHAIRY. I miss the term "beruk". I miss the black MPV roaming around. But where is he?