Dr Mahathir U -Turn to Umno

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) — Former prime minister and former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he would rejoin Umno. He said he would announce the date of his return to the party at a suitable time “after (sorting out) several matters”. “I have to fill up a form. It takes some time. I will let you know later. I am waiting for certain events,” he told reporters after attending the Umno General Assembly 2008 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here as an observer. On May 19 last year, at a “ceramah” (talk) in Alor Star, Kedah, Dr Mahathir announced his withdrawal from Umno, saying he had lost confidence in the party. Dr Mahathir, accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, was seen entering the Dewan Merdeka venue of the Umno meeting at 12.30pm when Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was delivering his winding-up speech. Both of them were given a rousing welcome by the delegates who stood up to show their appreciation. Dr Mahathir was seen nodding, as though in agreement, when Muhyiddin expressed the hope of seeing the former prime minister rejoin Umno. Muhyiddin said Dr Mahathir’s presence more or less reflected his recognition of the new Umno leadership line-up, a statement to which the delegates responded with claps. At the end of the assembly, Dr Mahathir went down to the main stage and exchanged greetings with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Umno Supreme Council members and then he, Abdullah, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Muhyiddin together held up their hands. Asked why he decided to attend the assembly after having decided against doing so earlier, Dr Mahathir said Muhyiddin’s election as the deputy president gave him the confidence that the anticipated changes in Umno would take place after all. “I think there is hope for the future,” he said. Dr Mahathir had stated earlier in his blogsite, CheDet.com, that he would not attend the assembly as he felt that Umno Youth had openly condoned money politics. Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir’s third son, Datuk Mukhriz, hoped that his father would return to Umno as soon as possible. “This is what we have been waiting for. My father has actually promised that on the day Datuk Seri Najib takes over party presidency, he will submit his membership application form. “This (Najib’s presidency) has now become a reality and we are delighted at this new development. However, I’ve never influenced my father to make the decision,” Mukhriz told reporters at the conclusion of the Umno General Assembly today.

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