"Tun Dr Mahathir said he was strong, but he has misused that strength. When Barisan Nasional (BN) won big in the 2004 general election, he said (BN was) too strong, not good, needed to have opposition."
"In the recent elections when the opposition did well (winning 82 of the 222 parliamentary seats), we thought he would be celebrating, but he hit out at us instead. Why? "You shouldn't win too many (seats) then, and now you shouldn't win a few?," said Abdullah.
Asked whether he would fight head on with Dr Mahathir based on the tone of his statement, Abdullah said: I say what I only need to say, and don't say what I don't need to."
Abdullah said he was aware that the people wanted him to start addressing issues that were important to them so that Umno would remain strong and have the people's confidence.
He also refuted the claim by some quarters that he was a softy and left all the decisions to his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin.
"Under my leadership, they say there is no freedom, but at the same say that I am 'lembik' (soft). Scared of the 'si lembik' (the softy)?
"The rest are all stupid, only Khairy is clever," he said, referring to Dr Mahathir's accusation that Abdullah allowed himself to be influenced by his son- in-law in running the country and in making decisions.
"This accusation is baseless," he said, adding that when Dr Mahathir was prime minister, the government imposed certain restrictions like asking the press not to use the pictures of former prime minister, the late Tun Hussein Onn.
On the offer by Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to contest the Umno president's post in the party elections in December, with the aim of restoring Umno, Abdullah said the Kelantan Umno leader needed to look at himself first and why BN failed to wrest the state from PAS.
Blame Ku Li
"Ku Li (Tengku Razaleigh) should look at himself, as he was the cause of Kelantan falling into the hands of PAS. While PAS ruled Kelantan, he did once tried to win back the state for BN but he failed." Kelantan fell to PAS in 1990 by cooperating with Semangat 46 led by Tengku Razaleigh then. In the 2004 general election, BN almost wrest back the state when it won 21 of the 45 state seats and one more seat when it won the Pengkalan Pasir by-election in 2005. Abdullah said he had also been informed that Tengku Razaleigh did not assist BN in the March 8 general election.
On former deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was sacked from the party in 1998 and was trying to make a political comeback, Abdullah said Anwar could wait all he liked.
"He may be the Prime Minister-in-waiting but I'm the leader of today," he stressed.
He also pointed out that when Anwar was the country's number two he (Anwar) too tried to control the media in terms of what came out on TV and in print.
Abdullah, who is also the Prime Minister, said based on the party's analysis, several of the seats concerned were `white' or safe areas which should have been won and thus allowing the BN to win with the two-third majority.
He said the BN would also not have lost Kedah and Perak if there had been no acts of sabotage against the coalition in the 22 state constituencies concerned.
He said if there had been no acts of sabotage which had robbed BN of victory in the 14 parliamentary constituencies, the BN would have won the general election with a more than two-third majority, he said at a press conference after attending a briefing session with the Umno president which was attended by the party's information machinery at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), here Sunday.
Asked why there were members who had sabotaged candidates from their own party, he declined comment.
Abdullah said that at the moment, there was no need for him to state the reasons why the members had acted in such a manner but he would give the information needed to the Umno Disciplinary Committee for appropriate action to be taken.
"The action taken by these members were most regrettable," he said, stressing that the BN victory in the last general election (by winning 140 of the 222 parliamentary seats) showed that the people still wanted him and the BN to continue efforts in developing the country.