Former prime minister and pro-tem chairperson of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad swore today that the new party will restore democracy and rule of law in the country.
Democracy and rule of the law, Mahathir observed, have been denied and abused by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
In his latest blog posting on the need for a new political party, Mahathir explains why a new party can revive the country’s glories of the past.
Mahathir, who led the country as prime minister for 22 years, said he has studied the fate of the parties that won independence in other countries.
“Most of them have disappeared. They lost to new parties formed after independence because, invariably, they forgot the purpose for which the parties are formed and abused the power accorded to them for personal gains,” he observed.
“Umno has lasted much longer. But under Najib, it forgot completely the purpose for which it was formed.
“Najib has brought shame to this once admired country. The whole world looks down upon Najib for being the worst finance minister of Malaysia and for all kinds of wrongdoings perpetrated by him,” Mahathir said.
Only a new party, he said, would be able to revive the country’s glory.
While the sophisticated and higher educated urban people may believe that racial politics is not in keeping with the times, Mahathir thinks the situation on the ground is different.
“For the rural people who largely are poor, race is not only important, but they believe race is essential for their well-being. Umno’s popularity is because it is a racial party.
“If the new party is to compete with Umno, it must give the people in the rural constituencies and the unsophisticated urban constituencies the kind of comfort associated with Umno’s kind of racism,” he said.
Najib’s wrong-doings more open
Mahathir said the new party had to be formed after hopes that Najib would let go of his post as Umno president and as prime minister did not take place.
The idea, he said, became untenable as the wrongdoings of Najib have become more open and serious.
“Not only was 1MDB losing billions, but it was unable to pay its debts. Then it was discovered that Najib had more than RM2.6 billion in his private account. A PM should not have this kind of money in his account, no matter how he may have acquired it.
“Then it was found that Najib had a total grip on Umno. Any criticism of his leadership was not tolerated. Critics were expelled and tame leaders were put in place. They all seem to be obligated to Najib despite his wrongdoings. A vote of no confidence in him became impossible,” Mahathir reasoned.
As a result of these developments, the former prime minister added, the formation of a new party to contest against Umno became absolutely necessary.
Mahathir explained that Bersatu is not confined to Malays only as it would include all indigenous people – the bumiputera, where the party would accept the bumiputera and the non-bumiputera as well, as associate members.
He reasoned that a new party would be able to revive the country’s glory, taking cognisance of the changes in the thinking of all Malaysians.
“We have made progress. Our people are better educated, and are better off in many ways. Their perceptions of things and their aspirations have changed,” he said.
Guarantee on separation of powers
Bersatu, Mahathir ensured, would guarantee the separation of the powers of the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.
He added that the legal service, represented by the attorney-general, would be separated from the judiciary and even the AG must give reasons to the public and not just say there is no case to answer.
“Certainly, he must not put the reports under the Official Secrets Act,” he quipped.
He also said that investigations would be carried out on any suspicion of corruption reported and the reports would be made public. All Malaysian officials must be seen to be living within their means.
“This will include all members of the cabinet. Foreign observers will oversee elections and will have full access to the operations of the election, both of the government and the opposition.
“Borrowings by the government must not exceed amounts fixed by Parliament. Guarantees by the government should regarded as borrowings by government,” Mahathir said, adding that these are among the things the new party would struggle for.
The performance of the government, he said, would be improved to give a better life to the people and to regain the respect and honour of this nation.
Taking potshots at Umno, Mahathir said that party could not do all these things anymore.
“That is why a new party has to be formed. We aspire to serve the people. We pray the people will help us achieve our aspirations for them,” Mahathir said in ending his posting.