Here's the Bernama story yesterday:
Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said his father, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would neither oppose the government nor support the opposition.
"My father will not in any way support the opposition. He has fought the opposition all his life," he said.
Mukhriz, who is also the movement's International Relations and Non-Governmental Organisations Bureau chairman, said this in commenting on newspaper reports today which quoted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying that there had been no "gentlemen's agreement" between him and Dr Mahathir that he would only serve as prime minister for one term.
Yesterday, the newspapers had reported Dr Mahathir saying as such.
He was approached by reporters for his comments on the issue after receiving a RM100,000 donation for Aman Malaysia's Gaza Humanitarian Fund from Cheras Umno and the Cheras Education Foundation, which were represented by Senator Datuk Wira Syed Ali Al-Habshee, here today.
Instead, Mukhriz, who is also Aman Malaysia's coordinator, said the opposition would try to manipulate the issue to its own advantage and attempt to cause confusion among the people so that they would be disunited.
"I think what is said by both of them strengthens Umno," he said.
He also said that remarks by Dr Mahathir that he would only support BN candidates (in the upcoming election) who were capable and deemed clean was in line with the Prime Minister wanting candidates with similar attributes.
"It is the same as what Pak Lah (Abdullah) mentioned (at an Umno briefing), that the factor of the candidate himself was 60 per cent while the party was only 40 per cent (for victory in the polls)," he said.
Mukhriz said what was meant by his father was that the BN would still be the preferred choice of the people if the candidates were able to serve them and their party sincerely and the coalition winning two-thirds majority, as before, would not be much of a problem.
"This is not the time to change direction, what is important is to continue with the leadership," he said.
Mukhriz added that Umno members must strengthen solidarity and not allow any party, especially the opposition, to split them.
Asked if he would be contesting in the election, Muhkriz, who is the Jitra Umno deputy head, said he left it to his division and the party leadership.
"It is not I who decide, but the Prime Minister. We can only voice our intentions. If not chosen, we will continue working for the party," he said.
On Dr Mahathir's remarks about the "gentlemen's agreement". Here's the thing -- I think they were taken out of context. Deliberate or otherwise.
I was at Dr Mahathir's Press conference. He was asked by someone to comment about claims of such an agreement purportedly made five years ago.
Dr Mahathir replied that if there was one, he would not be able to prove it.
He said when he made the decision to hand over power to Pak Lah, it was because he felt that Pak Lah was older than Najib and that after one term as PM, he'd let Najib take over.
It was wrong to report that "Dr Mahathir claimed the agreement was made in 2003 when he handed over the leadership to Abdullah but admitted that he had no way of proving it."
Dr Mahathir was asked to comment about claims that there was such an agreement in which Pak Lah was to hold office for a term before handing the leadership to Najib.
I thought there was a difference between him being asked to comment about such an agreement and him saying that YES, there is such an agreement in which blahblahblah...