Veeps defend Umno from Dr M’s attacks

(The Star) – Two Umno vice-presidents have come out in defence of the party, following scathing attacks in a weekly paper yesterday by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said such attacks were not unusual, claiming the criticisms would not affect the party’s performance.

In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia, the party’s longest-serving president who retired in 2003, said Umno had not made any improvement since the 2008 general election.

The paper also quoted him as saying Umno currently lacked good, credible leaders and was a pale shadow of its former glory.

Dr Mahathir blamed his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the damage, alleging the country’s fifth prime minister prioritised his family.

He said the damage had been inherited by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who needed time to fix Umno and make it stronger.

Reacting to the criticism, Hishammuddin said: “We are going through a transformation process and knowing Tun (Dr Mahathir), he would throw ideas and challenges to see if we are able to meet them.”

Speaking to reporters after Najib met Umno Youth members at the PWTC here, Hishammuddin added: “The special briefing by the party president shows that Umno is getting ready to transform before the general election.

Mohd Shafie said Umno had contributed much to the development of the nation.

“It is not easy to fulfil everybody’s needs. But, we will continue to do our best to improve our image.”