Mahathirís unprecedented party weakness after the recent general election highlighted by the growing call for a  no-contest for the two top UMNO posts in forthcoming UMNO elections

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Sunday): The biggest loser in the Barisan Nasional in the recent general election, despite it being the dirtiest election in the nationís history, was UMNO - and in UMNO, the leader who suffered the greatest setback was none other than the UMNO President, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathirís unprecedented weakness in UMNO, despite an external image of invincibility in the party, is highlighted by the growing call for a no-contest for the two top UMNO posts in the forthcoming UMNO elections.

Three UMNO leaders have so far called for a no-contest for UMNOís two top posts in elections, which might be brought forward to March or April at the UMNO Supreme Council meeting tomorrow.

UMNO Youth acting chief Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein is the third UMNO leader to back the call first made by  the Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Wira Mohamad Ali Rustam that the two top UMNO posts should not be contested.

If anyone in the DAP had made any such suggestion that the two top posts in the party should not be contested, there would have been a hue-and-cry by the DAP detractors in the country that this is proof of lack of democracy in the party.

But so far, there has been total silence from the various sources who would be very quick to denounce the DAP for lack of democracy with regard to the proposal that the two top UMNO posts should not be contested.

Nobody explains however how the Deputy UMNO Presidentís post can be left uncontested when at present the post is still vacant  since the sacking of Datuk Seri Dr. Anwar Ibrahim from UMNO in September last year.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not the Deputy President of UMNO but merely carrying out the duties of the UMNO deputy president.

Mahathir would be very wary of having to defend the post of UMNO President if there is a contest, for there could be a repeat of the UMNO Presidential contest in 1987, where he scraped through with a wafer-thin 43-vote win against  his challenger, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - a result which was challenged by Razaleigh in the courts as fraudulent, leading to UMNO being declared unlawful and deregistered in 1988.

Mahathir would need a no-contest rule for the post of UMNO President to guard against a rejection by the UMNO delegates in the forthcoming UMNO party elections or he might  go down in UMNO history as the first Prime Minister and UMNO President to lose in the UMNO party polls.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman