06
Aug
17

Dr M: I will never return to Umno

Who made it worse for Malays, me or Najib, asks Dr Mahathir

Who made it worse for Malays, me or Najib, asks Dr Mahathir
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he helped the Malays. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, August 4, 2017.

ATTACKS on former Umno president turned opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad have come from many directions, including Putrajaya, which recently formed a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the Bank Negara Malaysia forex scandal that broke out during his tenure as prime minister.

He has also been reviled for muzzling the judiciary and media. Last week Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi took the fight to another level with derisory comments about his Indian ancestry.

The emerging theme in recent months is the Pakatan Harapan chairman’s contribution, or lack thereof, to the welfare and development of the Malay race.

However that may be debated among his critics and his supporters, Dr Mahathir himself is quick to respond to that question with the assertion that the Malays are “worse off” than ever under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

“Did I make the Malays worse off? I helped the Malays,” he said in an interview with The Malaysian Insight.

“The one who has made the Malays worse off is Najib. The Malays, who were known to come from a developing Malaysia, are now known all over the world as a country led by a controversial leader.

“Who has made (it) worse (for) the Malays, myself or him?”

“It is worse than ever before because now we have a Bugis leader who pretends to be Malay.

“This person admits he uses money – ‘cash is king’.

“What makes the Malays worse off today is because of the existence of such a leader.”

Dr Mahathir resigned as prime minister on October 31, 2003.

Although he admitted that he failed to change the “Malay mindset”, Dr Mahathir said he saw to the increase in the number of Malay professionals. The number of doctors, engineers, managers and business leaders rose during his administration, he claimed.

It was 15 years ago when a sobbing Dr Mahathir Mohamad stunned an Umno general assembly by dropping two bombshells: That he was resigning as prime minister and that the Malays remained backward despite all the advantages accorded to them.

“The Malays are still weak, the poorest people and are backward,” Dr Mahathir, then 76, said in his opening speech at a three-day party conference in Kuala Lumpur on June 20, 2002.

It was ironic that Dr Mahathir, who played a principle role in establishing Malay privileges in commerce and education, would so publicly acknowledge the failure of race-based protections.

The irony continues today, for it is Dr Mahathir who now helms the Opposition coalition, the leaders of whom he once denigrated and were jailed under his administration.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: Are there no leaders who can change the Malay mindset? Does such a leader exist?

Dr Mahathir: Far from it. Not only that, the possibility of (finding such a leader) is far less than what I hoped for. The ones that we have, both leaders, have no idea how to change the culture and values of the Malays. For me, success or failure of a race depends on the values they hold. If they value hard work, they can succeed. If they don’t, if they take things easy and push things to tomorrow, then they will fail.

Q: Will you ever return to Umno?

Dr Mahathir: I will never return. Umno is beyond repair. The behaviour of its members has changed. They now value the pursuit of material wealth. They are involved in bribery. It has become a party without principles, where its members are just looking for money. I cannot join such a party. It is finished. Whatever that is clean, has already left.

Q: Are you fighting to remove Najib or Umno?

Dr Mahathir: At first I thought, if I rejected Najib, Umno could be healed. But it didn’t. They’re all involved in bribery. The leaders, members are just looking for money. Want that money, want this money… when Najib gives, they accept. This is no longer the party that fights for religion, race and country. It fights for its own interest. I cannot be a member of such a party. The name is Umno, but the principles and struggles of Umno are no longer the same. When I was prime minister, many came to me and asked ‘I’ve been in Umno 15 years (but) I haven’t gotten anything’. I told them you did get benefits. Your children got scholarships, they have an education, they went to university. The village roads are tarred. The villages all have water, electricity, schools and clinics. But what he meant was he didn’t get anything for himself. He wanted money. That is the leadership of Umno today.

…more
Who made it worse for Malays, me or Najib, asks Dr Mahathir
4 Aug 2017 – TMI

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