Dr Mahathir Mohamad's presence in Parliament with the opposition members today is nothing odd and is just another attempt to attack the country's leadership, said Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein.

However, he said the former prime minister's action would not be able to bring down Umno or the Barisan Nasional as they were on solid footing.

"He has tried all sorts of things against Umno but we continue to be united because Umno's strength does not depend on individuals but all the members and leaders, at the grassroots level, branches, divisions, states and the centre.

"He attacks our (Umno) president (Najib Abdul Razak) but we defend him, just as we had defended him (Mahathir) when he was the president of the party," he told reporters after chairing a preparatory meeting on next month's Ummah Agenda Empowerment Convention at the Putra World Trade Centre today.

He was commenting on Mahathir's participation in a special meeting on parliamentary privileges and immunity of MPs and speaking to the media at the Parliament lobby.

Joining him were former cabinet ministers Muhyiddin Yassin and Mohd Shafie Apdal. Also present were opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Asked on Mahathir's accusations that the Dewan Rakyat now was no longer democratic unlike during his time, Hishammuddin said that was for the people and history to judge.

"He can say that his leadership was better, but let the people decide (on that), let history be the judge, people can make their own conclusions whether what he is doing now is consistent with what he did before," he said.

Meanwhile, on the various Memorandums of Understanding signed between Malaysia and China which the opposition has claimed that Malaysia is selling out to China, Hishammuddin, who is also Defence Minister, said the agreements did not affect the diginity and sovereignty of the counrty.

Instead, he said they were important to strengthen the country's economy and provide benefits to Malaysians as China was now a world economic powerhouse.

"Malaysia will lose out if our relations with China pioneered by former prime minister the late Abdul Razak Hussein 42 years ago are not capitalised on, more so with the current weak world economy," he added.

- Bernama

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