Dr Mahathir a traitor to Umno grassroots

Looi Sue-Chern

Umno grassroots feel that their former idol has walked out on them to forge an unimaginable alliance with PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang – the two people Dr Mahathir Mohamad told them were the enemies of Umno. – The Malaysian Insight pic, July 24, 2017.

AFTER years of looking up to Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his wisdom, wit and vision, Umno grassroots members are let down by his decision to join hands with the opposition.

His alliance with his old political enemies – de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang – in Pakatan Harapan to remove Prime Minister Najib Razak from power is too much for them to stomach.

Rokiah Talib from the Pengkalan Muda Umno branch in Kepala Batas said she was utterly disappointed in the man who was once her idol.

“Many of us idolised him. We loved him. After so many years of supporting him, we are just very disappointed that it has come to this.

“Now, the opposition can take advantage of the situation, having him over on their side,” she told The Malaysian Insight yesterday at the Kepala Batas Umno division meeting in Penang.

Eliza Shaari from the Taman Sri Menerong branch said she cried when she saw on TV news of Dr Mahathir’s sudden retirement which he announced at the Umno assembly in 2002.

“The delegates at the venue were not the only ones who cried. Delegates in front of their TVs at home also cried. That was how much we loved him as our leader.

“He was the leader who took Malaysia to greater heights when he was prime minister. He dealt with the economic crises that hit us in the late 1980 and late 1990s.

“Now, imagine how frustrated we feel about him leaving Umno and working with the opposition,” she said.

Eliza said Dr Mahathir had not only ruined the good name of Umno and Malaysia, but his own.

Umno grassroots members, who respected Dr Mahathir, are now largely agreed that he is a traitor to Umno which had made him party president and prime minister.

“It is true that he betrayed Umno. He went overboard, joining the opposition. How could he do it? Is it because of his age?” Hashim Yusoff from Pinang Tunggal said. 

He said the members were angry with Dr Mahathir, who had brought Anwar into Umno and then sacked him as his deputy prime minister in 1998.

Hashim also disapproved of the way Dr Mahathir was attacking Najib.

“He had his 22 years (as prime minister), now he should just rest and not interfere.

“Look at Pak Lah, who does not get involved in the current administration. People have respect for Pak Lah,” he said, referring to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Dr Mahathir’s immediate successor, who is from Kepala Batas and is highly regarded there.

Bahari Ibrahim from the Ekor Kucing Umno branch said Dr Mahathir had only worsened matters with his actions.

He believed that whatever problems there were within Umno, he should have talked them over and settled them with the party.

“The issues didn’t have to be blown wide open. Dr Mahathir didn’t have to join PH, especially DAP. 

“For someone regarded as a statesman, what he has done is wrong. He should have just stayed retired,” he said.

Jalan Kedah Umno branch member Azizi Safar said the clincher for party members who used to support Dr Mahathir was when he quit Umno and went on to work with the enemy.

He said whatever respect and support party members had for him was lost then.

“When he started attacking Najib while he was still in Umno, there were members who supported him. But when he walked out of Umno, some of his sympathisers shifted their support back to Najib.

“They could not accept it when he became buddies with PH. Umno members remember that it was Dr Mahathir who had planted in their head all the bad thoughts about Lim and Anwar.

“It was he who told Umno members that Anwar committed sodomy,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

After Anwar was sacked by Dr Mahathir in 1998, he was charged with sodomy, which is illegal in Malaysia. He was jailed six years until his conviction was overturned and he was released in September 2004. Anwar is now serving a five-year sentence for a second sodomy offence.

Azizi said these days, Dr Mahathir was calling for Anwar to be freed and supporting his candidature as the PH prime minister. 

“They don’t really have a real agenda for the people. All of it is just a political vendetta.” – July 24, 2017.

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