Saturday, September 13, 2008

Power Transfer: Ali Rustam Supports Najib's Statement

MELAKA, Sept 12 (Bernama) -- Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has voiced his support for Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's statement to leave it to the party members to decide when the transfer of power by Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should take place.

He said what was stated by Najib was in order based on the party constitution.

"The (Umno) Supreme Council's proposal on the power transition was reasonable but the party members have the right to decide on this at the divisional delegates' meetings," he told reporters at the breaking of fast with media members here Friday.

Najib, who is Umno deputy president, was also reported to have said that the power transition plan was decided in July by the prime minister and himself, and was agreed upon by the party's Supreme Council.

Under the plan, Abdullah will hand over the posts of prime minister, Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president to Najib in June 2010.

Meanwhile, Mohd Ali also hit out at the action of five Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) members led by its publicity chief Tian Chua who left for Taipei today to "hound" the Barisan Nasional MPs now on an agriculture study tour in Taiwan, to cross over to the opposition in order to form a new government by Sept 16.

"Their action is undemocratic and an embarrassment to Malaysia as they show no respect for democracy," lambasted the chief minister.

"They (the BN MPs) won their seats in the last general election six months ago, and PKR is still chasing them to cross over to its side. They (PKR leaders) have no shame," he added.

Mohd Ali believed that the BN MPs had no privacy as they would be hounded by the PKR leaders.

Batu Pahat MP Datuk Dr Mohd Fuad Zarkashi, meanwhile, said the power transition plan between the prime minister and his deputy should be reviewed.

He said the time frame had caused increasing uneasiness among the Malays, including Umno members, who now had a bad perception of Umno and this would cause bigger problems to the party in future.

"If Umno is weak, the country's political stability will be under greater threat, and this cannot be denied," he said when contacted by Bernama Friday.

Dr Mohd Fuad is among 49 members of the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club who are now in Taiwan on an agricultural development study tour there.

He was responding to a media report today which said that the prime minister was surprised with party vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's view of the power transition time frame as being too long.

He also noted that Najib also proposed to leave it the Umno grassroots to decide on the date for the transfer of power if the plan did not happen as announced.

"Let the grassroots decide who will contest the party president post in the Umno national elections this December," said Dr Mohd Fuad.

He said this was important to ensure the country's stability, considering that many arising problems had been allowed to fester due to delayed action, to the extent of eroding public confidence in the party.

"There appears to be no political direction and decisions were slow to come, causing uneasiness among the people," he said.