Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Zainuddin Maidin - Informant Or Go-between?

Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said at a chance encounter with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Sunday, he conveyed his and the people's feelings over the former prime minister's stinging attack on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his administration.

"I sincerely poured out my feelings and that of Umno grassroot members and the people over the unhealthy development. But I found that Dr Mahathir had made up his mind. "I told him straight and he was not angry...his reaction was like what we read in the newspapers. He did not say anything but he believed in what he was doing," he told reporters after launching the NAM News Network (NNN).

Zainuddin said he met Dr Mahathir by chance at the Japan GT car racing championship at the Sepang circuit. The minister said he expressed his concern and that of many others that if the situation continued, it would only tarnish the reputation of Dr Mahathir who led the country for 22 years.

Dr Mahathir had recently openly slammed Abdullah and his administration, accusing the prime minister of changing his policies and cancelling projects approved by him when he was prime minister. He also wanted the government to reply to several issues he had raised including the thousands of Approved Permits (APs) issued to two people who did not even have showrooms, the removal of former Proton CEO Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff and sale of the Agusta motorbike company for one Euro.

Zainuddin said he honestly told Dr Mahathir that the more statements he made and the more he interfered in politics and the country's administration, he would hurt himself more. "It will also erode his high standing in society, his reputation and his big name because in politics like what he also believed -- there is no permanent friend and no permanent enemy," said Zainuddin who admitted that he still considered Dr Mahathir, whom he knew for more than 40 years since working in Kedah as a journalist, as one of his leaders.

Zainuddin said although he was a Cabinet Minister, he spoke to Dr Mahathir more as a journalist. "Let people say want they want to say, but I don't have any enemies. "I am a professional and what I am doing is what the party and the government want to be done professionally...I believe in Pak Lah and what he is doing," he said.

Asked whether he was would be the "mediator" to resolve the differences between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah if Umno asked him since he was close to the two leaders, Zainuddin said he was not qualified to mediate as he did not have an appropriate party position including not being a supreme council member. "For the party, I may be prepared (to mediate) but my role may not be effective," he said. Zainuddin also recalled the various leadership crises the country had weathered previously like the crisis between the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj and Dr Mahathir and during the formation of Umno involving Datuk Onn Jaafar but all the crises have ended amicably.

He said such crises were normal in the political world including in foreign countries.He said everybody must accept the reality that the world was changing and the views of human beings were also changing in tandem with new situations.


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