Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dr Mahathir’s criticism not about Umno, but Putrajaya

Published: 30 August 2014
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is dead wrong. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's stinging criticism against him two weeks ago and withdrawal of support for the prime minister is not an Umno matter, in the same way that corruption and vote-buying by Umno senior officials is not some quaint concept called money politics that should be dealt in-house.
The former prime minister's laundry list of complaints against Najib goes right to the core of governance of a country.
It has nothing to do with whether young talent is being allowed to flourish in feudal Umno, or whether the divisions have been conducting their annual meetings as required.
Dr Mahathir's criticism goes right to the heart of being a leader of Malaysia. In his view, the prime minister is weak, servile and blind to issues in the heart of most Malaysians.
For example, he says that Najib's manner of dishing out cash payments under the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) scheme only provides temporary relief but creates a dangerous culture of entitlement.
And, Dr Mahathir also points out that race and religious relations are at dangerous levels in Malaysia, and blames Najib's policies and inaction for this desperate state of affairs.
There is some irony here as Dr Mahathir is the patron of the Malay rights group Perkasa, which mushroomed after the 2008 elections and now flourishes with provocative racial rants under the Najib administration.
Then, there is the famous complaint about the administration allegedly being in the servitude of foreign governments and being prepared to sign a trade agreement not favourable to Malaysia.
These are serious allegations as they involve the well-being of the country, not a political party.
So, it is best the PM disabuse himself of this notion that the Dr Mahathir attack is some Umno matter. Malaysia is not Umno and Umno is not Malaysia.
Just saying, "We view this as an internal party matter and it will be dealt with accordingly and in the best possible way", will not take the sting out of Dr Mahathir's comments.
Najib and his government will have to address each point openly and not sweep it under the carpet as an internal party matter. After all, Dr Mahathir founded this new Umno, and knows better whether his criticism is about the party or the government.
This is not about Umno, or Dr Mahathir would have just quit the party again. This is about Malaysia. – August 30, 2014.

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