‘Umno needs to transform to criticise its leaders’

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KUALA LUMPUR: Umno needs transformation to be brave enough to criticise its leaders, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The vocal statesman said the Malay party has a culture of blindly supporting its leaders without asking any questions.

“Yes, because the leader must be told about other views. A leader cannot just do whatever he likes,” he said in Putrajaya yesterday.

He was responding to a blog posting by former journalist Datuk A Kadir Jasin, who said that while Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is strong, the party he helms is weak, and as such, no attempts will be made to oust the prime minister.

The country’s longest serving prime minister recently said he is withdrawing his support for Najib as his criticism has fallen on deaf ears. Although Najib refused to respond to Dr Mahathir’s remarks, the party’s powerful supreme council has apparently told Najib he needs to show some toughness since the government had been viewed as soft since the 13th general election last year.

On the acquisition of independent power producers by 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which he has criticised in the past, Dr Mahathir said he is critical because “this is public money”.

“Although it is borrowed money, it belongs to the government, and government spending must follow ... procedures. You cannot just spend money as you like,” he was quoted as saying. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 30, 2014.