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

Eventually Dr Mahathir did silence Musa and he did this by forming Umno Baru without allowing Musa and his Team B supporters, which included Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, to join the new party. So, since Dr Mahathir could not or dared 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.

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 Dr Mahathir who wanted Umno deregistered so that he could kick his critics out when the new party was formed. This was what Musa and Team B said at that time.