SUNGAI BESAR – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s attendance at the Bersih 4 gathering yesterday is very disappointing, says Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
He said Dr Mahathir had flouted his own principles after rejecting street demonstrations during the crisis following the sacking of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as deputy prime minister in 1998, when he was prime minister.
“But due to his hatred for UMNO president (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak), he (Dr Mahathir) was willing to be in cahoots with the DAP whose motive is to destroy the party.
“Although his presence at the gathering was brief, he urged the participants to carry on and encouraged them to continue being there,” he told a media conference after opening the Sungai Besar Umno division delegates meeting here today.
Also present at the meeting were division chief Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, Sungai Panjang State Assemblyman Budiman Mohd Zohdi and Permatang State Assemblyman Datuk Sulaiman Abdul Razak.
Salleh said there was only one leader in an organisation, and when Najib was picked as UMNO president, rightly all members should give him their undivided support.
“Not all that a leader does are necessarily correct and agreed upon, but the principle is that, when the number one leader makes a decision, we must set aside our personal views to implement what is decided by the president.
“In the past, Dr Mahathir did the same thing in Sabah on the rotation of the chief minister’s post whereby, he decided that the chief minister must be changed every two years.
“Although the whole of Sabah did not agree, we still relented and concurred with his decision because he was then party president,” said the former Sabah chief minister.
In this regard, Salleh said Dr Mahathir must retain the principle but the action of the former prime minister who incessantly attacked Najib was very much opposed to his stand prior to this.
“I respect Tun (Dr) Mahathir, who also shares my date of birth, and I was appointed chief minister of Sabah at one time, but we cannot force people to accept our opinion and saying that our opinion alone is correct.
“We listen to all opinions but it is the number one (Najib) who makes the decision. There was no social media in the past but now the normal media is competing with the social media…as such, it is essential that we support Najib as party president,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, Salleh said the opposition should not have used street demonstrations to attack the government but express it via the general election.
“What is essential now is UMNO…we must strengthen our organisation because nothing matters anymore when power is gone. UMNO clearly champions religion, race and nation.”- BERNAMA