SERDANG, July 20 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today reminded party members to not seek for personal power or wealth.
He warned that Bersatu may end up like Umno, whose original struggle for the Malays became waylaid by greed for money and positions.
“Many forget history, what we have now is due to the struggle of those in politics who came before us,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech during Bersatu’s extraordinary general meeting at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park Serdang.
He said during the Independence period, the Malays struggled only for race, religion and nation.
“Those day, they tend to pass up positions, claiming they were unfit for it and that others should take the position.
“So after Merdeka some became prime minister, deputy prime ministers, chief ministers, Mentri Besars. They were remunerated with salaries and given titles,” Dr Mahathir said.
In the years since, he said some began to think that by rising to positions of power, they would be able to accrue many benefits.
“Thus the struggle changed from the sake of race, religion and nation, to one of pursuing power.
“Many jockeyed for positions within the party, forgetting the original aim of the struggle,” Dr Mahathir said.
Such is the fate of Umno, which he said started off with the noble ideals of loyalty to the nation.
“The leaders over time made their interests more important than the collective good.
“For example we could see how certain Umno division leaders could not tolerate those more intelligent than themselves, preventing such individuals from joining,” Dr Mahathir said.
Only those deemed less intelligent than the division leader were permitted to join the party.
“But we are all mortal. So when the leader leaves the post, the successor is even less intelligent. And the cycle repeats itself, letting stupidity to pile on.
“I have been lucky to see our country’s politics for over 70 years. Leaders who struggled for freedom, change when they take power,” he said.
Dr Mahathir pleaded with the members to not let history repeat itself and allow Bersatu to end up like Umno.
“We must remember, the rakyat will not support those who fight for themselves alone instead of for the struggle,” he said.