KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — Not missing a beat despite Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s televised reply to his criticism, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has continued his diatribe against the former, saying this time that the loyalty of Umno leaders today is dependent on monetary gains.
In an interview with blogger Din Turtle uploaded Friday, the former prime minister insisted that the ruling party is headed for doom when asked for his response to calls for his reconciliation with Najib.
“Umno is already broken,” the straight-talking veteran leader told his interviewer in one clip.
“The Umno that I led before was quite powerful. If you look at our assemblies, the spirit was there.
“The Umno now is about money. Its leaders are loyal because they get something... contract, the ones who get posts all get money (too).
“But when you do that, you give to the chief... what about the rest?” he asked.
Dr Mahathir insisted that the Malays are deeply disappointed with Najib’s rule, with many even be conveying their unhappiness to him.
He defended his criticism of Najib and said he has the right to speak out if he feels the leader has erred.
Asked to explain why he wants Najib to resign, Dr Mahathir said: “Because I feel he’s going to cause Umno to lose in the next election, believe me.”
Dr Mahathir, the country’s longest-serving former prime minister, has repeatedly targeted Najib’s leadership by accusing the latter of failing to dispel allegations such as that dogging state-owned investment firm 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its debts.
Last week, Dr Mahathir suggested in a blog post that Barisan Nasional (BN) could end up losing power in the next general election because of falling confidence in the current administration.
Among other things, Dr Mahathir said “no investigations were conducted” on convicted former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar’s claim that he was acting under orders in Altantuya’s murder.
On Thursday, however, Najib replied Dr Mahathir in a pre-recorded interview on TV3.
The second-term prime minister insisted that BN still has the ability to win the next general election as long as Umno stays united as a party.
“If we do not fight among ourselves, I am confident we can win in GE14,” the prime minister and Umno president said during the televised interview.
Dr Mahathir has also criticised the Najib administration’s annual cash hand-out to low-income groups through the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) scheme.
Najib has been facing growing pressure from his detractors to step down, particularly from Dr Mahathir.
But leaders of the component parties in BN have pledged their full support for Najib as the country’s prime minister.