Friday, December 4, 2015

At least Najib did not kill the party

Salleh Said Keruak

Tun Musa Hitam said that back in the late-1980s Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not silence him and allowed him to talk, even at the Umno general assembly. The impression Musa is trying to create is that Dr Mahathir is more democratic than Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

That is a misinterpretation of events. It is not that Tun Dr Mahathir did not want to silence Tun Musa. It is that Tun Dr Mahathir was worried of silencing him because Tun Musa and his Team B had the support of 50% of Umno and if Tun Dr Mahathir had tried to silence him this would have backfired and would worked in Tun Musa’s favour and would have helped him gain more support.

Eventually Tun Dr Mahathir did silence Tun Musa and he did this by forming Umno Baru without allowing Tun Musa and his Team B supporters, which included Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, to join the new party. So, since Tun Dr Mahathir could not silence his critics in Umno, he formed a new Umno and left all his critics outside the party where they eventually had to form their own party, Semangat 46.

Tun Musa and the Team B supporters then alleged that the Registrar of Societies need not have deregistered Umno since the offence was very minor and did not require such drastic punishment as de-registration of the party. They further alleged that it was Tun Dr Mahathir who wanted Umno deregistered so that he could kick his critics out when the new party was formed. This was what Tun Musa and Team B said at that time.

In fact, one of the main issues that Semangat 46 brought up was that Tun Dr Mahathir does not respect democracy and does not allow freedom of speech. And that was why Tun Musa and the rest of Team B, and later Semangat 46, opposed Tun Dr Mahathir. 

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