The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is free to leave Barisan Nasional (BN) if it chooses to do so, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“If that is their choice, what can we do?” he told reporters after chairing the BN supreme council meeting at Menara Dato’ Onn, here, Tuesday.

PPP has called for the abolishment of the Internal Security Act (ISA) before the next general election or else it would leave BN.

Abdullah, however, said the government had no plans to amend the Act. Kayveas did not attend the meeting but sent his representative.

Asked whether the meeting deliberated on sensitive issues, Abdullah said several sensitive issues were discussed but he would not elaborate.

“We are open and appreciate that we are all (BN component parties) under the ambit of BN and we are also collectively responsible for many things.

“The government exists on power-sharing based on consensus, that is, we practise collective responsibility, thus there is no sensitive issue which we will not discuss,” he said.

Abdullah said nobody raised or made a statement wanting to leave BN at the meeting.

He said the BN Convention in February would discuss the views of the people, non-governmental organisations and community leaders on issues, as well as the last general election.

“Actually, the BN Secretariat is making the preparations. It has conducted a survey and came out with many findings from the community leaders.

“It takes time. Some people say BN has been very quiet, not doing anything whereas the preparations we are making have to be meticulous and not haphazard

“We notice that different groups are making different demands, thus we have to study them thoroughly. The BN committee has met before to consider dominant views on BN,” he said.

He said the plan to hold the convention did not come solely from Umno but from all component parties and it was conveyed at the BN supreme council meeting today.

Abdullah said the BN supreme council members had made their views known and the subjects to be discussed at the convention would be fine-tuned. These included ways to strengthen BN, he added.

He said the convention would be held either over one or two days, depending on the subjects to be deliberated.

The component parties were encouraged to have their own retreats after the convention to get feedback from their members, he added. BERNAMA