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Date: 14 Dec 1999
Malaysia's ruling party meets to debate "back-stabbers"
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 (AFP) - Malaysia's ruling party will meet Saturday to discuss "back-stabbing" blamed for its poor showing in key states in last month's elections, a report said Tuesday.
Utusan Malaysia said the issue would top the agenda at a supreme council meeting of the United Malays National Organisation.
"The issue of back-stabbing by members will be refered to UMNO's management and disciplinary committee before it is taken up by the supreme council," the newspaper quoted party secretary Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor as saying.
The opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) retained the northeastern state of Kelantan and captured neighbouring Terengganu in the November 29 state assembly and parliamentary polls.
PAS also made inroads in the states of Kedah, Perlis and Pahang and more than tripled the number of its parliamentary seats to 27.
The newspaper said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who will chair the meeting, had been briefed on the problem of UMNO members said to have worked against the party in several states.
Mahathir's National Front coalition, of which UMNO is the dominant party, won a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the elections. But UMNO's share of parliamentary seats fell to 72 from 88.
Ibrahim Saad, who lost the seat of Permatang Paug in northern Penang state to Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was quoted as blaming his defeat on party dissension.
"The supreme council must take stern action against these back-stabbers," Inrahim was quoted as saying. He gave no details but said he had a list of the culprits which would be given to the party disciplinary committee.
Wan Azizah, wife of sacked and jailed deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, heads the National Justice Party which won five parliamentary seats.
Mahathir last Friday played down talk of a split in the ethnic Malay vote over Anwar's treatment and other issues.
"The split is not so much a split. It's all due to inter-party rivalry (in UMNO) and loyalty to certain personalities rather than to the party," he said.