Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lashes out at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying the Umno leadership has stopped listening to the people. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were the star attractions at a special gathering ahead of the Umno general assembly, which has denied the former any room to speak after his fallout with party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Muhyiddin, the party deputy president, suggested tonight that it was time to set a term limit on the post of Umno president to rid the party of “money politics which had become a cancer”.
He also urged Najib to “take a rest” from prime ministerial duties pending investigations into the alleged financial scandals involving 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts.
Dr Mahathir, meanwhile, said he wanted to attend the Umno general assembly to see the party’s accounts and if the RM2.6 billion that went to Najib would be accounted for, since the funds were described as a political donation.
Dr Mahathir also told the crowd to reject Najib or risk becoming “beggars in our own country”.
The event at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur tonight saw a huge turnout of people who jammed the hall and spilled out on to the streets, many cheering each time Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir called Najib to account for alleged scandals involving state-owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and over the RM2.6 billion.
Also present at the event tonight were Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and former Batu Kawan Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan.
Muhyiddin’s move to seek an alternative platform tonight comes after the Umno Supreme Council decided to stop the tradition of having the party deputy president officiate the assemblies of the party’s Youth, Wanita and Puteri Wings, in effect, cutting him off from addressing party members at the assembly.
Muhyiddin was dropped as deputy prime minister and education minister in a July Cabinet reshuffle after openly questioning Najib over 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion, while Dr Mahathir has become the prime minister’s fiercest critic over the same issues.
Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says the promise from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to resolve the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue within ‘six months’ seems to be a moving target.
Here are The Malaysian Insider’s live updates on the event last night:
11pm: Dr Mahathir ends his speech, telling the crowd “not to accept Najib in whatever form”.
“No risk, no gain. If we do not fight this, we become victims.
“One day we will open our eyes and find that the country is lost and we have become beggars in our own country,” the former prime minister said.
10.50pm: On the RM2.6 billion donation that went to Najib’s personal accounts, Dr Mahathir asked if the party president had returned the money to Umno, since the funds were said to be a political donation.
“I’m just asking, it’s not a crime.”
He said he wanted to attend the Umno general assembly to hear about Umno’s accounts and whether the RM2.6 billion to Najib had been accounted for.
10.46pm: Dr Mahathir asks why police chose to question him out of the thousands of people who attended the Bersih 4 rally in August, which was held to demand democratic reforms and Najib’s resignation.
Dr Mahathir, who has said he did not support Bersih’s demands for reforms, had only turned up at the rally because he wanted Najib to step down.
“Some 50,000 to 60,000 people went to Bersih, but why only call me? Attending the Bersih rally is not a crime, but the response to it was a crime.”
10.42pm: Dr Mahathir says it is Najib who should be arrested under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), instead of 1MDB critics like Khairuddin.
“Lodging reports has been considered a violent act, so he is arrested under Sosma.
“It is Najib who should be arrested under Sosma, for undermining democracy. He should be called and investigated by police for undermining democracy,” he said.
The former prime minister reiterated, “we don’t want to topple the government, we only want to topple Najib”.
10.31pm: Dr Mahathir tells the crowd that leaders have a duty to listen to the people and protect their interest, because they derive power from the people who elect them.
“Tonight we gather because our leadership has stopped listening to the voices of the people. The people are not allowed to air their views. They can only say yes to the leaders.
“This means we are no longer democratic. We have become a party where leaders have absolute power.
“The deputy president, vice-president, are not allowed to speak. Only selected members can speak. They are not allowed to touched on 1MDB, the RM2.6 billion,” he said. – Read more TMI