Seventh UMNO President Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak opines that UMNO is in a better state today after a year of political drama by dissenters and UMNO Baru founder Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is getting desperate and delusional in his continuous failure and disastrous half-baked-schemes to oust the former.
Straits Times story:
Umno stronger today as its leaders are on the same page, says Malaysian PM Najib
PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
PUBLISHEDNOV 28, 2016, 5:00 AM SGT
PUTRAJAYA • Umno is in a stronger position today as its leaders are united and on the same page, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said, following more than a year of internal party turmoil.
He also said in an interview with The Star newspaper that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his mentor- turned-fiercest critic, has failed to unseat him as the former premier no longer wielded the “fear factor” he had while in office for 22 years.
When asked if the party is stronger today, Datuk Seri Najib said: “We are all on the same page and we work well as a team. It’s good for Umno that people see we have a cohesive leadership.”
He added: “I believe what happened strengthened Umno’s leadership and we have a much more united leadership.”
The interview at his official residence in Putrajaya was held in the run-up to the annual general assembly of the party he has led for seven years. The five-day assembly starts tomorrow.
When asked if the next general election would be in the first or second half of next year, Mr Najib said: “Not necessarily, it can be later. I am enjoying this speculation. Let people go on speculating.”
The next polls are due by late 2018.
Former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Mr Najib at last year’s congress. This year, Mr Najib’s supporters expect him to rally the party for the next general election, which he should win handily if the opposition ranks – including M
Najib can breathe easier at Umno meet
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is defending his Umno vice-presidency and among those said to be eyeing the post are (clockwise from top left) Mr Khairy Jamaluddin , Mr Mahdzir Khalid, Mr Ismail Sabri and Mr Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
People and issues to watch at Umno’s general meeting
Mr Najib, 63, and the party faced turmoil from the third quarter of last year as he staved off an internal revolt after news broke that about US$700 million (S$999 million) from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) were found in his bank accounts, leading his then deputy Muhyiddin Yassin to criticise him.
Mr Najib sacked Tan Sri Muhyiddin as deputy prime minister at the end of September last year and replaced the attorney-general and the chief of the Special Branch police intelligence unit.
In February, another Najib critic of the 1MDB scandal, then Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir, was forced to resign by Mr Najib.
Dr Mahathir quit Umno in February and in July formed a new party with his son Mukhriz and Mr Muhyiddin. Meanwhile, another Najib critic, Cabinet minister and Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal, left Umno in July.
Mr Najib said Dr Mahathir has failed to oust him as he no longer has any levers of power. “He ruled by fear. Once he was no longer (Umno) president, there is no more fear of him nor the ability to control and he could not determine things in Umno. There was respect but no fear.”
Mr Najib also shared a conversation he had with the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 2009, who likened Dr Mahathir to a heavyweight boxer who keeps punching until he wears his opponent out.
“He is obsessed about doing things his way; it’s his way or the highway. I thought he would go against me, what I did not anticipate was the meanness of his reaction,” Mr Najib said. “I suppose that’s part and parcel of what the man is about. Unless he achieves absolute control, he’s not going to stop. Kuan Yew’s analysis of him was spot on.”
The past year has been “quite a tumultuous journey”, he said. “I’m (optimistic) that there will be an upswing”.
The fact is that, Dr Mahathir threw in too many tactics and tricks, to oust his hand-picked successor to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Fifth Prime Minister he waged a war against as well.
Nothing works. Every single tactic ends miserably and Prime Minister Najib is still exactly where he was when Dr. Mahathir first started openly in March 2015.
A year ago, Dr Mahathir intended to use the UMNO General Assembly to strike against its President Prime Minister Najib, particularly using the 1MDB fiasco. However, it failed.
UMNO went through a period of political cycle upon the sacking of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yassin as Deputy Prime Minister since July last year.
In late January 2016, after the frustration with Attorney General Tan Sri Apandi Mohamed Ali for proclaiming there is no case against Prime Minister Najib, which is after MACC submitted an incomplete set of investigation papers on 31 Dec 2015, Dr Mahathir left UMNO.
However, this round it did not create the same traction as it was in May 2008 in his bid to oust then Prime Minister Abdullah.
In February 2016, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir was pressured by majority of UMNO Kedah leaders to resign. That came as another slap on Dr. Mahathir’s face.
His Majesty the King wouldn’t accommodate Tun Dr. Mahathir at arms with the Opposition, particularly his nemesis for 49 years Lim Kit Siang and DAP
On 4 March 2016, he launched ‘Deklarasi Rakyat’ which saw him teaming up with an arch nemesis for 50 years, Emperorissimo of Chauvinist Chinese DAP Lim Kit Siang and some key party leaders DAP.
That very much depleted any shred of Malay support left for the Fourth UMNO President, who headed the Malay nationalist party for 22 years.
Dr. Mahathir very much lost his clout over UMNO since when he was the Supreme Leader, he was feared more than respected. His key success story for 22 years was about his dictatorial, divide and rule and Machiavellian leadership traits.
Straits Times story:
Malaysian PM Najib says Mahathir no longer wields the fear factor
PUBLISHED NOV 27, 2016, 2:39 PM SGT
PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad’s failure to unseat the Prime Minister is partly due to the fact that he no longer wields the “fear factor”, Prime Minister Najib Razak has said.
Datuk Seri Najib, who made the remarks during a wide-ranging exclusive interview with The Star published on Sunday (Nov 27), said the elderly leader’s control of the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) was largely by virtue of being the then party president and Prime Minister.
“He ruled by fear. Once he was no longer president, there is no more fear of him nor the ability to control and he could not determine things in Umno. There was respect but no fear,” Mr Najib said.
He said Tun Dr Mahathir operated through the mentris besar (MBs) and chief ministers to control the divisions.
“Once the MBs were no longer there, he had no contact with the division heads. You’d be surprised he didn’t know the names of many of them,” he said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives for an interview with The Star newspaper in the library of his official residence.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak attends a Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 9, 2016.
On the other hand, Mr Najib said, he is seen as one of them because he came up with them over some 30 to 40 years.
“I don’t just rely on the MBs, I am part of them and that is why Mahathir cannot dislodge me from Umno. I was short of my 23rd birthday when I entered politics. It gave me a huge advantage because I grew up with over two generations of leaders in Umno,” he said.
Mr Najib’s comments in The Star came ahead of Umno’s annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur this week.
In the interview, Mr Najib also shared a conversation he had with the late Lee Kuan Yew in 2009 who likened Dr Mahathir to a heavyweight boxer who keeps punching until he wears you out.”He is obsessed about doing things his way, it’s his way or the highway. I thought he would go against me, what I did not anticipate was the meanness of his reaction,” he said.
“I suppose that’s part and parcel of what the man is about. Unless he achieves absolute control, he’s not going to stop. Kuan Yew’s analysis of him was spot on,” he added.
Mr Najib said it was the “epitome of Machiavellian politics” and the “height of hypocrisy” that Dr Mahathir is now sharing the stage with his former opposition rival Lim Kit Siang and shaking hands with his one-time political foe Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“Do you think its for the love of Kit Siang, do you think Kit Siang loves Mahathir?”
Mr Najib also said he did not believe that the “strange bedfellows” will last for long.
Evidence about UMNO being fragmented and hugely affected upon the second resignation of Dr Mahathir and sacking of Muhyiddin, Mukhriz and former Wanita Information Chief Hamidah Osman did not cause the traction as the dissenters expected.
Majority of UMNO members even in Muhyiddin’s and Mukhriz’s own Divisions were nonchalant.
The fact is that Pribumi Bersatu, a party mainly based of former UMNO members who are used to a structured system cannot even form one single Division level yet. This is considering the founders are a Statesman, recently sacked Deputy President and State Liaisons Chief aka Menteri Besar.
By comparison, when Anwar Ibrahim decided to form his ‘KeAdilan’ even when he was behind bars, the application of membership was over whelming,
The success of speed of the formation of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, did not do much in drawing the memberships. Their sad devotion of willing to sell the Malay struggle out by working with DAP and hypocrisy of working with PKR and PAN, isn’t attracting the larger of the Malays except those who are burnt with the success of Dr Mahathir’s demonisation of Prime Minister Najib.
Hence, majority of UMNO members is still sticking with UMNO. Now that the contentious issue of 1MDB and no one is really interested, the Malaysians are eye balling issues that really affecting them.