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Postponement of Umno polls makes Malaysia a banana republic, an international laughing stock: Ku Li

PETALING JAYA, 26 Sept 2008: Deriding the Umno supreme council’s decision to postpone its party elections, contender for the party presidency Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says Malaysia has been turned into a “banana republic” and an “international laughing stock”.

The Gua Musang Member of Parliament (MP) said the country had been turned into “a banana republic” with the Umno supreme council’s decision today to postpone the party’s annual general assembly and polls, originally slated for December 2008, to March 2009.

“Now we know that Malaysia has First World infrastructure and Third World politics, with leaders turning us into a banana republic.

“I think I speak for the country when I say we are embarrassed at the sight of two grown men playing this endless children’s game of ‘yours and mine’ with the most important job in the country, oblivious of the law, oblivious to the damage they are doing to the country,” Tengku Razaleigh said in a press statement issued after the supreme council’s emergency meeting today.

He criticised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who are Umno president and deputy president respectively, for putting their own interests and political survival above the country’s needs.

“Instead of a national economic plan or any kind of reform, what the Umno leadership has given us, since March 8, is a ‘transition plan,’ designed to save two individuals from the inconvenience of facing elections. Their personal careers appear to be more important than the future of the nation. They are turning Malaysia into an international laughing stock,” he said.

The Kelantan prince is to hold a press conference on 27 Sept, where he is expected to elaborate on his plans for contesting the party presidency.

Meanwhile, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang predicted that the end for Abdullah could come “in a matter of weeks” although Abdullah has not yet announced whether he will contest the party presidency in March 2009.

Lim described the postponed party polls as “a coup d’etat” which has crushed for good Abdullah’s original June 2010 deadline for transferring power to Najib.

“The writing is clearly on the wall of another prime minister and Umno president being forced out of office,” said Lim, who is also MP for Ipoh Timor.

He also said it was a great disappointment that the Umno supreme council was more concerned with the political future of Abdullah and other Umno warlords, than with addressing other issues facing the country.

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