What if Dr M is right in his criticism of Najib, asks Umno veteran

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 22): An Umno veteran has defended Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over his criticism of Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration, saying the former prime minister was looking out for the interests of Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Tan Sri Sanusi Junid said as a veteran in politics, Dr Mahathir had his own thoughts about how things should be.

"I know Dr Mahathir. He wants Umno to win. He wants Barisan Nasional to win. It is just that he thinks BN needs to change its policies.

"If the policies are not changed, then the person must be changed. That is his thinking. He does not want Umno and BN to lose," said Sanusi, a former minister, in a video uploaded on pro-Umno blog Parti Melayu. It was reposted by another pro-Umno blogger, Apanama.

In the over two-minute video entitled "Antara Mahathir dan Najib" (Between Mahathir and Najib), Sanusi said Najib, on the other hand, wanted Umno to win but with him there.

"So that is the difference... and those who are against Dr Mahathir are those who want to maintain the status quo. They want to keep the present policies and the people.

"For Dr Mahathir, he wants victory (for BN) by changing the status quo. There are two alternatives – change the policies or the person... this is what causes the conflict," he said.

Sanusi (pic, left), who was Kedah menteri besar from 1996 to 1999, said those who attacked Dr Mahathir after he started criticising Najib's administration “had not read” his intentions properly.

"Dr Mahathir does not want to be the prime minister or a cabinet minister. He has been all that before. He is just an old-timer who sees things in his own way.

"If his thinking cannot be accepted, then 'alhamdulillah' (praise God) if his thinking is proven to be wrong later. But what happens if he is proven to be right?

"If Dr Mahathir is right, we will regret when we lose. By then it would be all too late. Dr Mahathir doesn't want to be blamed should we lose," he said.

The same video of Sanusi's comments was also uploaded on YouTube yesterday.

Since last year, Dr Mahathir has been criticising Najib and his brainchild, the debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). In August last year, Dr Mahathir said he was withdrawing his support for Najib's administration after his criticism fell on deaf ears.

The nation's longest-serving prime minister said he hoped Najib had learnt from his poor performance in the 2013 general election but it appeared that he had not.

“Many policies, approaches and actions taken by the government under Najib have destroyed interracial ties, the economy and the country’s finances,” Dr Mahathir reportedly said.