Badawi to answer Mahathir

By Mazwin Nik Anis (From The Statesman of June 14, 2006)

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13: The government, through the relevant ministries, will reply to former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s demand for answers on the four issues he raised, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mr Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He said the answers would be given in detail.
“The answers can be put out but this has to be done by the relevant ministries, not by me,” he said in a statement issued to Bernama by his assistant press secretary Mr Wan Esuriyanti Wan Ahmad.
According to Mr Wan Esuriyanti, Mr Abdullah wanted to clarify a statement made by the Johor Baru MP, Mr Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad who was reported to have said that the MPs had left it to Mr Abdullah to implement the process of explaining to the people regarding the criticisms.
Earlier, 78 Backbenchers Club (BBC) members, including Mr Shahrir, and senators were given a briefing on the controversy by Mr Abdullah at his office in the internal security ministry yesterday.
Some backbenchers said that various ministers and government officials had already replied comprehensively to Dr Mahathir’s questions on the government’s decision to scrap the Johor bridge; on the sale of Proton’s foreign venture and MV Agusta Motors SpA; on the issuance of approved permits for car imports; and on why Proton Holdings Bhd chief executive officer Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff’s contract was allowed to lapse.
However, since Dr Mahathir insisted that he was not satisfied, the relevant ministries would come forward with more details.
Last week, Dr Mahathir levelled his strongest criticism yet against Mr Abdullah, accusing him of dismantling many of his policies. Backbenchers Club acting chairman Mr Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar said the Umno MPs and senators had sought the meeting with Mr Abdullah, and gave him their word that they completely backed him.
According to the MPs, the Prime Minister stressed that while industrialisation policies laid down by the previous administration would not be abandoned, the emphasis on agriculture was necessary. The Ninth Malaysia Plan remained his chief concern, Mr Abdullah said, and people should judge him and his government on its success.

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