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Friday, October 9, 1998

Saifudin vows to continue fighting

KUALA LUMPUR: Expelled Umno Youth leader Saifudin Nasution Ismail, implicated in the reformation movement, said he would not appeal against his sacking by the party supreme council.

In a faxed statement from Bangkok, purportedly signed by him, he said the expulsion did not surprise him.

"Neither am I disappointed. For me, Umno is merely a platform for my struggle.

"I will use other platforms which may be more effective and easier for me to function," he said.

Saifudin, a former PAS member, said he would continue his fight against Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

A joint statement purportedly signed by two other leaders, Dr Abdul Rahim Ghouse and Ezam Mohd Nor, was faxed from Manila later in the day in which they said they were not surprised by their expulsion from the party and that they would not appeal.

They said they had met several Philippine leaders, including President Joseph Estrada, and discussed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's case.

On Tuesday, the Umno supreme council sacked 10 members including Saifudin and Penang Youth chief Dr Abdul Rahim for being involved in activities detrimental to the party.

Also sacked was Negri Sembilan Youth chief Ruslan Kassim.

Ezam was Petaling Jaya Selatan Umno division deputy chief.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Embassy in Manila is trying to verify negative reports appearing in several Philippine English dailies which quoted Dr Abdul Rahim.

An embassy official said yesterday the mission was aware of such reports, adding that they were using their own channels to verify them.

However, he refused to comment when asked if they were also investigating the activities of Dr Abdul Rahim, who is reported to be launching a campaign to gain sympathy for Anwar in Manila.

"We have also read a report that five Malaysians came to Manila to see members of the Grand Order of the Knights of Rizal," he said in a telephone interview from Manila.

The official said they were verifying the reports which appeared in the Manila Times and Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamed could not be reached for comment.

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