KL Tower, 28th September 2008
Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, at a buka puasa session with the media hosted by him today, said that UMNO should be returned to the grassroots. He felt that the top UMNO leaders should heed the lesson of ignoring grassroots’ sentiments as witnessed by the major losses suffered in the recent general election. Mukhriz in his usual honest, humble and down to earth approach took questions on several topics fielded to him by reporters and bloggers present.
On the “power transfer plan”: He feels that there is no reason to further delay the transition of power from Abdullah Badawi to Najib as the grassroot sentiment is clear. The position of the UMNO Supreme Council too is clear. It ought to be done soonest so that Najib will be able to solidify the party. UMNO, he says should not continue making the same mistakes of the past four years. He also expressed concern that in the event Pak Lah decides to contest and he loses, that will be embarrassing as it has never happened to the party president before. He says that contrary to his father’s position (Tun Mahathir), he supports Najib for the UMNO presidency.
On the competition for the UMNO Youth post: He feels that the candidates have their strength and it is democratic that the members are given the opportunity to choose. Responding to a reporter’s query that Khairy Jamaludin had complained that UMNO youth members have been blocked from meeting him (Khairy), Mukhriz said that he too had similar personal experiences. He said that he had also received reports of money politics being more rampant that the last election. He felt that this practice should stop as it would present a negative image to the Malaysian public. Leaders who practice money politics would be rejected.
Mukhriz’s slogan in his bid for the UMNO Youth post is “Berani Berubah” that is “dare to change”. This appears consistent with the mood of UMNO members who are crying out for change within the party. Whether this will avail him well in the contest is yet to be seen.
This was the first time I had been to the KL Towers. I must say I was impressed (though heights make me nervous!)