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Abdullah Badawi

Mahathir will not give up anti-government campaign, says son

The Associated Press Published: November 12, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will not give up his anti-government campaign despite his recent heart attack, his son said Sunday.

"Knowing how he has been going at it, it (the heart attack) doesn't at all put a damper to his spirit," Mukhriz Mahathir told reporters. "He is the type of person who will probably ... go into a depression if he stops working, if he is not active, if his mind is not working."

Mahathir, 81, suffered a mild heart attack Thursday but is progressing well and will start an exercise regimen to keep fit, Mukhriz said.

However, doctors have advised him to take it easy for at least two months before resuming normal activities.

The heart attack has been expected to temporarily halt Mahathir's steady stream of criticism against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Mahathir stepped down in October 2003 after 22 years in office, hand-picking Abdullah as his successor. But he now accuses Abdullah of corruption, mismanaging the economy and compromising the country's sovereignty.

"What is important now is whether what he has said, what he has done so far has touched any one at all," Mukhriz said. If it has, it is up to others to "further the struggle on his behalf if they feel it is important enough," he said.

But if his father has failed to convince Malaysians about his allegations, "of course it (his public support) will end there," Mukhriz said . but "he will still continue, even if he were alone to pursue the mater."

"If any of us at all feel that what he has said and done resonates with what we feel ourselves, then I think we owe it not just to him but to ourselves, our children, to at least do something about it," he said.

One immediate result of Mahathir's heart attack is that he won't attend the annual general assembly of the ruling United Malays National Organization or UMNO party beginning Monday.

Observers had been keenly awaiting Mahathir's appearance at the event for signs of how much clout he still has in the party, and how many delegates would show support for his campaign.

However, in public, top party members have stood behind Abdullah and urged Mahathir to tone down his criticism for the sake of party unity. His campaign has raised fears of instability in the party, the dominant political group that represents Malaysia's majority ethnic Malays.

Mukhriz said the family will hold a prayer session near the UMNO conference center on Tuesday evening, with all UMNO delegates including the prime minister invited.

Mahathir, however, will not attend to avoid excitement.

Still, doctors are not advising him to stop work completely.

"He may have retired, but does not mean he will stop working," Mukhriz said.

Source : http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/12/asia/AS_GEN_Malaysia_Mahathir.php