KUALA LUMPUR, 24 March 2009: Umno vice-president aspirant Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim has expressed gratitude to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the former prime minister’s backing and expressed the hope that the support would translate into votes at the party elections on 26 March.
“I hope his views would be taken into consideration by the delegates when casting their votes,” he told reporters after inspecting preparations for the exhibition on the plights of Palestinians, at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here, today.
Mahathir had openly backed Rais in the contest for the vice-president’s post.
On money politics, Rais said he hoped that the problem could be eliminated.
“Everyone knows and realises that money politics has been haunting Umno for a long time now and I hope that the steps taken and to be taken will ensure that this problem will be the least of Umno’s worries in the future,” he said.
The exhibition, to be opened by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, would start tomorrow on the sidelines of the Umno general assembly.
Rais will be up against seven other candidates for the three veep seats in Umno, the largest party in the country and the backbone of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
“I am offering myself based on my contribution, track record and my stand against money politics. Money politics is not only serious but worse than that.
“These are trying times for Umno and if nothing is done to curb this practice then the party would face hardship in the future,” he added.
On another note, Rais, who is Foreign Minister, said the exhibition on the plights of Palestinians was to show Umno members and grassroots leaders the atrocities inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people.
“We have three main objectives in coming-up with this exhibition.
“The first is to create awareness on the atrocities which should be rejected, the second is to make the people look at the Palestine conflict in a justified and objective manner, and thirdly, is to say that Gaza is the last straw.
“This should be the last event of cruelty and atrocity inflicted against mankind and therefore the rest of the world should continue to find ways to settle the problem,” he added.
He said the Foreign Ministry would also organise a similar exhibition in London on 31 March to expose the atrocities committed by Israel in Middle East.
Rais said he would also specify “certain adoption of attitudes” by Malaysia on the conflict in the near future. — Bernama