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Ahmad Ismail to know his fate tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 Sept 2008: The Umno Supreme Council special meeting tomorrow will decide on the action to be taken against Bukit Bendera division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail, said Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah said this decision was made after all the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties agreed that the issue be resolved by Umno.

"They want stern, immediate action be taken, but they understand that the matter involves an Umno member and the party’s procedure requires it to be brought up to the (Umno) Supreme Council.

"The BN component party leaders have acknowledged this procedure and urged the Umno Supreme Council to take action soonest possible," he said after chairing the BN Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato’ Onn here today.

Ahmad has created uproar for allegedly making a racist comment at a ‘ceramah’ (talk) during the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign on 23 Aug, which angered Gerakan and MCA leaders who demanded an apology. However, despite being told to do so by Abdullah and his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Ahmad refused.

Abdullah who is also BN chairman, said Umno would ensure stern action be taken against Ahmad.

"At the meeting just now, all those who spoke showed respect for one another in a consultative atmosphere, but it was clear that they were disappointed and angry (with the statement) and were firm in wanting action to be taken.

"They could not at all accept Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s statement as it has caused anger and uneasiness not just to the non-Bumputera but also the Malays and other Bumiputera in Sabah dan Sarawak," he said.

Abdullah said Umno leaders present at the meeting, however, stressed that Ahmad’s statement was not Umno’s stand but his own.

Among the leaders were Najib, vice-presidents Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, and Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

Asked why action was only being taken now against Ahmad, the prime minister said Umno leaders including him had already advised Ahmad to retract his statement and apologise, "but he did not respond in a way we expected him to do".

At the press conference, Abdullah also said that BN will come up with a code of ethics specifically for inter-party relationship within the coalition.

He said among the issues that would be included in it were those that touched on sedition and the Constitution.

"Matters that should not be raised, need not be raised," he said.

Abdullah said this when asked if Malay privileges and the social contract would feature in the code of ethics. – Bernama

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