Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali took Umno delegates by surprised by attending UMNO General Assembly today.
The former Umno president arrived at about 12.30pm at a time when newly-elected Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was delivering his winding-up speech and was greeted with thunderous applause from the delegates.
Dr Mahathir then waved at the audience, acknowledging their greetings.
Dr Mahathir was also seen nodding when Muhyiddin expressed his hope that the former prime minister rejoin Umno officially.
Muhyiddin then said that Dr Mahathir’s arrival was, in some ways, a form of recognition of Umno’s new leadership, to another round of applause from the delegates.
Former Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who were seated onstage, were seen clapping their hands in welcoming Dr Mahathir and wife.
Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah then sat at the observers’ gallery together with Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, to observe the general assembly.
But while many seen his attendance including the new Umno president Najib said Mahathir present in the assembly was part of the efforts to have the two ‘negarawan’ back on good term again. Abdullah supporters clearly unhappy. Even Abdullah’s farewell gets upstaged they screamed.
They felt Dr Mahathir had come to claim victory and marred the traditional farewell in the Malay “beradab dan sopan santun” way.
Abdullah has always been gracious and hardly hit back when Dr Mahathir attacked him.
When Dr Mahathir went on to the stage, disrupting the planned farewell Abdullah would have gotten, the stark difference between the two men was there for all to see.
Abdullah’s supporters wanted him to be feted and sent off in the same way that Dr Mahathir was sent off in October 2003 — with grace and gratitude.
We’re interested to know what do you make of it?