21 October, 2008

Dr M and Pak Lah’s war escalates !!

By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor
Malaysian Insider

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has hit back at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi over his right to comment on Umno affairs, escalating what is turning into open warfare between the two men.

Writing in his chedet.com blog today, the former PM said: “It is clear that, whether I am an Umno member or not, I am not allowed to or I am blocked from giving any opinions about Umno or about any other matter.”

Dr Mahathir’s response comes just days after Abdullah told him off for speaking out on internal Umno issues.

The former prime minister had recently urged Umno members to vote out “Abdullah’s toadies” in the upcoming party elections.

This, he argued, was to ensure Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the front-runner to take over the Umno presidency, would have a different administration from that of Abdullah.

Dr Mahathir has become increasingly vocal about Umno affairs ever since it became clear that Abdullah, his hand-picked successor-turned-nemesis, would not seek re-election for the Umno presidency.

An increasingly outspoken Dr Mahathir has also given rise to criticism that the country would return to “Mahathirism,” and that he would be the power behind the throne of a Najib administration.

Today, Dr Mahathir repeated accusations that he had in recent years been blocked from meeting party members and from speaking at party functions even before he quit the party this year.

“As usual ‘Pak Lah’s people’ support the Prime Minister’s attacks on me.

“Only Datuk Seri Rais Yatim has shown courage in defying the Prime Minister to say I have a right to give my opinions.”

Rais, a member of Abdullah’s Cabinet, has said it is within Dr Mahathir’s rights to say anything about Umno, and that no one should try to stop him from speaking out.

Dr Mahathir said that he would not stop anyone from criticising him if they did not agree with his views.

“My blog is open. It is up to Pak Lah and his henchmen whether to be abusive towards my blog.”

Mean time, Khir Toyo denies naming Teresa Kok as being involved in the Azan

Selangor opposition leader and former Menteri Besar and Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo denied naming Kinrara assemblywoman Teresa Kok as the assemblywoman involved in the azan issue.

Mohd Khir claimed he had merely said that her office had acknowledged receiving a copy of the memorandum by the residents calling for the volume of the speakers at a mosque in Puchong to be reduced.

He claimed he never mentioned Kok’s name and that it was Utusan Malaysia which chose to report it the way it did.

The matter came up when Mohd Khir was debating on the state budget which was tabled by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

"She (Kok) knows that and that’s why she has sued Utusan and not me, because she knows I never mentioned her name," he said.

The issue was brought up midway through Mohd Khir’s debate when Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Wen San accused the former of making wild and unfounded statements and allegations against the new state government just as he had against Kok.

Mohd Khir responded by saying that he had never named Kok. Kok then stood up to argue.

Kok: You twisted the facts that was then carried in Utusan Malaysia and this caused my arrest under the Internal Security Act. This action by YB Subgai Panjang (Mohd Khir) is not appropriate and very unbecoming and irresponsible of someone who had been a former Menteri Besar.

Mohd Khir: I never mentioned your name but said that there were ‘parties’ involved in the matter. If Utusan wrote it that way- then that is Utusan. Let me explain that.

Kok: But you named me in your blog and another blog pembelamelayu.com picked up that piece. Following this, e-mails started circulating accusing me of being involved in the petition against the loud call to prayer by the mosques.

Mohd Khir then brought up the issue of Kok’s erection of signboards with road names written in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil in several areas in Kuala Lumpur to reflect the multiracial composition in the country and in protest against the Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s use of Jawi on the signboards.

Kok then stood up and said that she had already explained the issue and questioned why a matter that had happened in Kuala Lumpur was being brought up in Selangor.

"This I did after complaints from the residents in the area and this is a separate issue from the azan," she said.

"Why are you mixing these issue up together and twisting the facts together with Utusan Malaysia?" she asked Mohd Khir.

Mohd Khir then said a journalist from Utusan Malaysia called him to ask about the memorandum asking the mosque in Puchong to reduce the volume of the loud speakers in their premises and that he had told him about the memorandum which carried a stamp of receipt by Kok’s office.

Kampung Tunku state assemblyman Lau Weng San then asked Mohd Khir if he was willing to retract the statement and apologise to Kok.

"What I said and meant in my response was that she had received the memorandum," Mohd Khir replied.

Later when asked if he was misquoted by Utusan, Mohd Khir said: "I did not say the specific name (of the assemblywoman involved). What I said was that I received a copy of the memorandum that was also acknowledged (of receipt) by Teresa Kok’s office."

It was stamp to acknowledge that Kok’s Kinrara office had received a copy of the memorandum, he said.

"That’s why I said Kinrara office that’s all," Mohd Khir said.

"I don’t feel guilty, I’m speaking the fact," he added.

In response, Kok said that she would be sending a letter of demand to Mohd Khir soon.

"It’s coming soon," she said when asked if a lawsuit will be initiated against Mohd Khir.



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