KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took the opportunity to use a symbolic event for the Malays today to chide his number one critic and former mentor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a traitor for his willingness to co-operate with “enemies” of the community.
Speaking at the 50th anniversary of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), the Umno president alleged Dr Mahathir — although without naming him — had betrayed the Malays after he aligned himself with the opposition, whose leaders Najib accused of wanting to see MARA fail.
Najib said those who want to see the Malays succeed would not go against Umno as it was the Malay party that gave birth to MARA, which in turned helped the Bumiputera community attain its present socio-economic stature today.
“That’s why you have to protect Umno. When we take care of Umno we take care of Mara and if we take care of MARA, we also take care of the millions of Malays out there.
“We shouldn’t be sitting together and conspiring with those who want to betray Umno. If he was once a leader he should know to defend the present leadership,” Najib said during the celebration to thunderous applause.
Dr Mahathir was instrumental in Najib’s ascension to power but later declared openly that he was seeking to oust his handpicked successor, whom he accused of corruption.
Failing to unseat Najib through Umno, Dr Mahathir then quit the party and later announced an alliance with opposition leaders including the DAP, whose leaders the latter had battled for decades during his time as prime minister.
Umno has since used Dr Mahathir’s co-operation with the DAP to portray the former prime minister as a traitor to the Malay cause.