The Umno Supreme Council special meeting Wednesday will decide on the action to be taken against Bukit Bendera division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail, said Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah said this decision was made after all the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties agreed that the issue be resolved by Umno.

“They want stern, immediate action be taken, but they understand that the matter involves an Umno member and the party’s procedure requires it to be brought up to the (Umno) Supreme Council.

“The BN component party leaders have acknowledged this procedure and urged the Umno Supreme Council to take action soonest possible,” he said after chairing a two-hour BN Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato’ Onn here Tuesday.

Ahmad has created uproar for allegedly making a racist comment at a ‘ceramah’ (talk) during the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign on Aug 23, that the Chinese were “penumpang” (squatters) in the country and therefore not entitled to enjoy equal rights with the Bumiputeras.

The statement has caused anger among Gerakan and MCA leaders who demanded that Ahmad openly apologise.

Abdullah who is also BN chairman, said Umno would ensure stern action be taken against Ahmad.

“At the meeting just now, all those who spoke showed respect for one another in a consultative atmosphere, but it was clear that they were disappointed and angry (with the statement) and were firm in wanting action to be taken.

“They could not at all accept Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s statement as it has caused anger and uneasiness not just to the non-Bumputeras but also the Malays and other Bumiputeras in Sabah dan Sarawak,” he said.

Abdullah said Umno leaders present at the meeting, however, stressed that Ahmad’s statement was not Umno’s stand but his own.

Among the leaders were Deputy Prime Minister and deputy Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, vice-presidents Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, and Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

Asked why only now was action being taken against Ahmad, the prime minister said Umno leaders including him had already advised Ahmad to retract his statement and apologise, “but he did not respond in a way we expected him to do”.

“That’s why we had the BN meeting today to hear what BN leaders had to say and tomorrow we will decide on the action.”

Abdullah reiterated that from the beginning, he never condoned Ahmad’s action.

To claims from some quarters that Umno could not control Ahmad, he said: “We haven’t finished with him yet. If by tomorrow we cannot do anything, then of course you can say that.”

Abdullah believed that the action to be taken against Ahmad would mend relations between Penang Umno and Gerakan and MCA.

— BERNAMA