Monday, September 8, 2008

malaysiakini : PM to Ahmad Ismail: Explain, or face action


PUTRAJAYA: Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s fate will be decided Tuesday after a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“He will be asked to explain himself, after which we will decide what action will be taken against him,” Abdullah said.

“I’m very unhappy with what has happened and will take a firm stand on the issue,” he told reporters after meeting ambassadors and foreign dignitaries at Wisma Putra on Monday.

When briefed on a meeting earlier Monday in which Ahmad had asked Gerakan to leave the Barisan Nasional coalition, Abdullah said, “Ahmad should not blame other parties; it’s not for him to ask a component party to leave Barisan.”

Ahmad, already embroiled in a controversy where he is alleged to have described Malaysian-Chinese as “squatters,” has also been involved in a war of words with Gerakan.

Earlier Monday, he said Gerakan should leave the coalition because it has only created chaos among the component parties.

He also said that Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should be stripped of his post as the state Barisan chairman and the post be given to the MCA.

He said this was because a few Chinese leaders from Gerakan, including Dr Koh, had deliberately taken advantage of the situation and turned it into a racial issue “to hide their own weaknesses.”

Dr Koh should apologise not only to the Malays and the Muslims but also to the Chinese in the country for creating so much tension, he said at a press conference called by leaders and representatives of the 13 Umno divisions in Penang, led by state Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah and secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim.

Ahmad made veiled threats as well, saying that “He (Dr Koh) is a leader who is really good at tai chi but I would also like to remind everyone not to forget that the Malays are equally good at silat,’’ referring to two martial arts disciplines.

He reiterated that he would not apologise for his remark made at a ceramah on Aug 23 and was prepared to face the consequences.

He said what was important now was for all parties to be united so that there would be peace and harmony in the country -- however, at the end of the 40-minute press conference, reporters who were in the meeting room witnessed several supporters bringing down a picture of Dr Koh, which was hanging on a wall, and tearing it to pieces.

When contacted later, Ahmad denied any role in the incident.


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