KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s reign in the party has been the most peaceful time ever as there had not been a shake-up until six years into his appointment, unlike during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s era, a supreme council member said today.
Umno’s newly-minted information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa added that during Dr Mahathir’s time, the party was wrought with political crises and was even deregistered at one point while Najib’s party presidency has been mostly peaceful.
“The tussle for the deputy president position between Ku Li and Tun Musa Hitam happened since 1982 and repeated in 1984. In 1986, Kuli went up against Dr Mahathir and in 1988, Umno was banned. In that one decade, all sorts of political crises occurred and it happened repeatedly.
“Najib’s era now, I can say, is the most peaceful. Only after six years of Najib’s becoming prime minister, there was a change in position for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with local Malay daily Berita Harian.
He added in a similar interview with English daily The Star, that the removal of Muhyiddin and Shafie from Cabinet, both of whom were dropped during a surprise Cabinet reshuffle late last year ostensibly due to their open criticism of Najib’s handling of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy, should have come sooner due to their lack of discipline to the party’s leadership.
“They should be removed! In fact, I think they should have been removed earlier! They know that!
“The rules are very simple. Those positions – the DPM, the MB, Chief Minister – are appointed posts. People at those posts serve at the pleasure of those who appointed them, so there must be a certain degree of discipline,” he explained, when asked if Umno tolerates dissent, to which he responded in the affirmative.
Annuar also said that this was a practice dating back to when Dr Mahathir was in power when the latter “made it very clear that he did not want Datuk Harun (Idris)”, former Selangor mentri besar, to be a member because he could not tolerate “undisciplined” people.
The Supreme Council member also said that Najib has been too patient with “undisciplined” people within the party, adding that action must be taken to ensure such incidents do not recur.
“What do you expect if the Deputy Prime Minister or Mentri Besar starts going around and hammering the leadership in public?
“I think Najib has been too tolerant! You must not allow such things to happen, not just before but even in the future!” he said.
Most recently, Kedah mentri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, also the son of trenchant Najib critic Dr Mahathir, was removed from his position which he claims was due to his questioning the prime minister’s handling of 1MDB and a RM2.6 billion donation.
While Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who were also dropped from the Cabinet, remain in the party, several dissenters lower down the ranks have been expelled from Umno.