Sunday, 6 April 2008

Umno pow-wow

Pak Lah to hold meeting with 1,000 grassroots leaders today

Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will hold a closed-door meeting with about 1,000 grassroots leaders today for the first time since the general election to explain issues concerning the party and the polls results.

Grassroots leaders comprising state liaison chairmen, division information bureau chiefs and their counterparts from the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings will attend the 10am meeting at the Umno headquarters at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

After a briefing, there will be a dialogue session during which latest developments affecting Umno and the reasons for the election losses are expected to be aired.

“The party president will be briefed by the state chiefs and, among other things, will also discuss and hold a dialogue on the recent polls showing,” vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said after opening the Jom Heboh Carnival in Ayer Keroh yesterday.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib said:

“The meeting is nothing extraordinary. He has been meeting with the information chiefs regularly. Datuk Seri also met the division chiefs recently in his house. The meeting tomorrow (today), will give grassroots leaders a chance (to have their say). It will be a closed-door one.”

Although Abdullah openly bore responsibility for Barisan Nasional’s losses in the March 8 elections, the vociferous attacks against him were unfair because there were other contributory factors, he added.

“One of the factors was Dr Mahathir’s attacks against Barisan. Datuk Seri Abdullah said he would take responsibility for what happened and will not run away from his responsibility.

“It is unfair for others to happily call for his resignation, blaming him for everything when there were other reasons why Barisan did not do so well,” Muhammad said.

He said the accusations and speculation might confuse the grassroots, and he had taken the initiative to organise a meeting today for the grassroots leaders to hear what Abdullah had to say.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor echoed Muhammad’s statement.

“It is just a regular update with the grassroots information leaders to explain the present situation,” he said, adding that they would be going down to the ground next week to explain the situation to the grassroots.

Perlis Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said it was a normal meeting.

“Before the Umno general assembly, such meetings are held two to three times a year,” he said, adding that he would be at the meeting.

When asked if explosive issues would be brought up, Shahidan said such questions might be posed to the Prime Minister during the dialogue session.

“But I am not sure if there are specific questions that will be posed to the Prime Minister,” he added. --The star

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