The Star, Wednesday September 10, 2008
By HAH FOONG LIAN
IPOH: Having Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad rejoin Umno is a good move as he could help strengthen the party that is facing various problems now, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
“Personally, I think bringing Tun back is a good move,” he told reporters after attending a buka puasa gathering with Perak Umno leaders on Tuesday.
Zahid, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was responding to a news report on Wednesday that the former party president had agreed to rejoin Umno after having resigned from the party in May.
Zahid said he was certain that Dr Mahathir had not been persuaded to return to Umno.
“It might be because Dr Mahathir was of the view that it was time for him to return to Umno to strengthen the party which was now facing various problems,” Zahid added.
“I don’t think anyone in Umno should be worried about Tun returning to the fold,” he said.
On how party leaders would handle Dr Mahathir if the former prime minister continued to make strong statements against the current leadership after his return to Umno, Zahid said:
“We really need Tun to give his advice and views but those opinions should be made behind closed doors and not openly through the media.
“His views should be deemed opinions of a statesman. We respect Tun as a statesman and the former leader of the party,” he added.
Zahid also clarified that the media included the blog which Dr Mahathir had been using to air his views.
Instead of blogging them, Zahid said it was better for Dr Mahathir to discuss them through the proper channels.
“Personalities like Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or any of the party’s vice-presidents are very good listeners and very open-minded people,” he said.