NAJIB HITS OUT AT DR M OVER ‘OWNERSHIP OF UMNO’ CLAIM
That’s because I’ve done away with Dr M’s bonus and quota voting systems, says president
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak chided former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for labelling Umno as a party owned by the former.
Dismissing the allegation, the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and Umno president said the reason he was able to stay long in politics was because he established a good formal and informal relationship with his members.
“Tun M said he does not support Umno because Umno is owned by Najib. Since when Umno belongs to Najib ?
“Umno is more open today than any other time, and I am a leader of the party because of the support of the members,” he said at the opening of the Masjid Tanah Umno division delegates’ meeting at SM Imtiaz Ulul Albab here.
He told the division party delegates that it was Dr Mahathir who instituted the bonus voting system and the quota system in the party polls to maintain his grip on power.
Najib said he had risked his position and done away with Mahathir’s system by introducing a more open party poll system where the leadership was elected by 165,000 members, instead of 3,200 division leaders.
“I allow my fate to be determined by 165,000 Umno members nationwide.
“Because there is no way you can buy the votes of 165,000 leaders. They voted based on their whims and fancy, but I manage to win uncontested. During the time of Dr Mahathir, there was the Internal Security Act (ISA).
“Tell me who is the dictator here?” Najib asked.
He said his recognition by the party members as their president was derived from a political theory that stressed formal power (formed by the party structure) and informal powers (formed from intimate relationship with others).
“Those who last long are those with informal powers. Which is why since 1976, I have built both formal and informal relationships,” he added.
Najib said during his tenure as the Umno deputy Youth chief, he practised the principles of wala (loyalty) and voted for Dr Mahathir, allowing him to beat Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah by 43 votes in the 1987 Umno presidential election.
Present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, Umno executive secretary Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh and Puteri Umno chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin.
Najib said a political party set up just to embark on a personal vendetta would not last long and could not challenge Umno, which had been at the forefront in championing the welfare and betterment of the people.
He said a certain party which sported a “flower” as its emblem did not have a clear direction like Umno and was only based on personal vested interests.
“A political party must have fighting spirit compared with this flower party which for the past two or three days did not have any direction.
“What is their direction? If it is set up just to embark on a personal vendetta and other vested interests, believe me this flower party will not last long,” Najib said.
He did not mention the party by name but it is believed Najib was referring to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
He also condemned a past leader who benefited from becoming a prime minister but was on a course to destroy the party.
“This is not rational and we cannot support such leaders because we know that only a political institution like Umno can bring hope to the people.
He added that the former prime minister had also gone too far to be in cahoots with the opposition.
“Dr Mahathir once criticised (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim using words which I will never use.
“And now, Dr Mahathir has looked for the very same person he once lambasted.
“If I were Wan Azizah, I cannot look at his face for what he did to my husband. In politics, we must have principles and moral high ground,” Najib said.
“There are several quarters trying to pit me against my deputy, claiming that he was planning something, I would like to repeat that my confidence in him is indisputable.
“My relationship with Zahid was built since 1986, and it’s not just a prime minister and deputy prime minister relationship.
“Dr Mahathir will never succeed in splitting us,” he said.
Puteri Umno chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin presenting a cat as a gift to Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak. With them are Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Idris Haron (left), Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh (centre) and Alor Gajah Umno head Datuk Abdul Ghafaar Atan (second from right) in Masjid Tanah, Melaka, yesterday.