(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The
statement by the UMNO Secretary-General and Information Minister, Tan Sri Khalil
Yaakob, in Ipoh today that Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s wish to
give up all his party and political posts after October 2003 was his
own decision and not a compromise reached with the UMNO Management Committee has
compounded the teeming confusion, contradictions
and doubts swirling around the
events stemming from Mahathir’s sudden resignation announcement at the UMNO
General Assembly last Saturday.
now, the nation had been told that after Mahathir’s sudden resignation
announcement, which traumatized the
UMNO General Assembly, Mahathir was persuaded to “retract” his resignation
as announced by the Deputy UMNO President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi one
hour later, and that at the hour-long meeting between the UMNO Management
Committee and Mahathir at Sri Perdana the next morning before the latter’s
departure for the Mediterranean, a “compromise” was reached which
took into account Mahathir’s desire to resign and the people’s desire for
his continued services – resulting in the 16-month transition plan announced
after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on Tuesday.
version of events was confirmed or
strengthened by the statements and remarks by the UMNO Vice President, Datuk
Seri Najib Tun Razak, the UMNO Wanita leader, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz and the
UMNO Information Chief, Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub before Tuesday.
latest version, that the 16-month transition plan for Mahathir to finally
relinquish all his party and government posts after the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC) Summit in Kuala Lumpur in October 2003 had always been
Mahathir’s original plan, would mean that there was no “retraction” of his
resignation announcement by Mahathir as Abdullah had claimed before
the close of the UMNO General Assembly.
said “perhaps Dr Mahathir wanted
to announce the date during his winding up speech at the 56th Umno General
Assembly but circumstances prevented him from doing so, but of this he was not
the 16-month transition plan for Mahathir to fully resign as UMNO President,
Barisan Nasional Chairman and Prime Minister had always been part of his
“smooth and orderly transition plan” when he rose to wind up the UMNO
General Assembly debate, why didn’t Abdullah announce it to the UMNO Assembly
and country – as he would have
learnt about it during the hour-long break with Mahathir even if he had not known about it before the dramatic
announcement was made and which could not be completed because of the eruption
of emotional outbursts at the UMNO Assembly.
the 16-month transition plan had always been Mahathir’s intention, which has
now been accepted by UMNO and Barisan Nasional Supreme Councils, then what was
all the emotional outbursts which wracked the country for two
to three days all about? This
would mean that there had been no “retraction” to close the UMNO General
Assembly, and the announcement of the 16-month transition plan was really a
all the major players in the “resignation”, “retraction” and
“non-retraction” drama act properly and responsibly?
should return from his Mediterranean tour on July 3 to tell-all and
clear up the teeming confusion,
contradictions and doubts created
by his sudden resignation, “retraction” and now “non-retraction” drama.
the whole idea of the 16-month transition plan is to shore up Abdullah’s
political and governmental grip as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, then
there should be room for debate as to whether it is the best transition plan
possible or whether there are other options and why they were not considered or
adopted, such as: Mahathir
resigning as Prime Minister with instant effect but remaining as UMNO President
and Barisan Nasional Chairman (whether retaining Finance Ministry portfolio or
otherwise) or alternatively, Mahathir remaining as Prime Minister during this
16-month period to be able to preside over the Non-Aligned Conference in
February and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit in Kuala Lumpur
on Oct 24 and 25, 2003, but otherwise going on leave as Prime Minister with
Abdullah taking over as Acting Prime Minister for the entire transition period.