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Ali Rustam: PPP can leave BN - now (Malaysiakini)
Andrew Ong and Kuek Ser Kuang Keng

Oct 20, 07 4:03pm

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) members are left reeling after receiving a political blow from Umno’s third most powerful leader during the Malacca PPP annual general assembly early this week.

At the assembly on Monday, Umno vice-president Mohd Ali Rustam delivered a scathing speech which chided the PPP for “threatening” Barisan Nasional for more seats to contest in the coming general election.

He also repeatedly stressed that PPP could leave the BN fold if it was unhappy. This left many party members in a daze at how Mohd Ali - who was the guest of honour as Malacca chief minister - could utter such remarks.

“He came to our house, seemingly with the intention to humiliate us,” said a PPP source who attended the event.

Eyewitnesses said a handful of party members stormed out of the venue in protest, but that did not deter Mohd Ali. “PPP can leave BN,” said Mohd Ali.

He then pointed at the stunned delegates and added: “All of you can leave. Either today or tomorrow. Why wait until the general election? What’s there to wait for?”

Show of hands Mohd Ali also claimed that the Umno supreme council was unhappy with PPP for accepting former Umno members as their members. He even asked if any of the delegates formerly with Umno, MCA, Gerakan and MIC to put up their hands.

Mohd Ali also took a dig at Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob for suggesting that PPP should ask every state for a seat to contest in.

“That's his business. As far as I am concerned - no seat in Malacca (for PPP),” he added.

When Mohd Ali wrapped up his tirade and declared the assembly open, PPP delegates refused to applaud. Eyewitnesses reported that PPP president M Kayveas maintained his composure throughout the hour-long speech and was seen vigorously taking down notes.

Funeral-like atmosphere When contacted, Kayveas said delegates were “disappointed and dejected” by the “unwarranted and undiplomatic” remarks uttered by Mohd Ali.

Kayveas said delegates were expecting inspiring speeches from Mohd Ali in order to prepare the party for the upcoming general election.

“(Instead) the chief minister's speech made the entire assembly feel like a funeral. As the third highest ranking in Umno, the consequences of his speech worries me,” he said.

He added that some remarks which Mohd Ali made regarding other BN component parties and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were also uncalled for.

According to media sources, Mohd Ali had asked journalists to exclude the hard-hitting part of his speech in their reports. He claimed these were only meant for the delegates. It is uncertain if Mohd Ali’s speech would lead to souring ties between PPP and Umno.

However, there is already talks within PPP rank-and-file that the party may silently boycott Umno programmes and functions.

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