Dr M’s antics only strengthen our support for Umno, Wanita members say


(MMO) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s offensive against the Umno leadership is having the opposite effect intended, and is reinforcing members’ loyalty to the party rather than swaying them from it.

Most of the Wanita Umno members met by Malay Mail Online at the sidelines of the Umno general assembly this week said they felt betrayed by the former party president and prime minister.

They further said Dr Mahathir, who quit Umno to form the splinter Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) that seeks to be part of the Pakatan Harapan Opposition pact, should simply retire from active politics and not meddle with the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Hasimah Omar, 64, from Tenggara Umno division, expressed disappointment at Dr Mahathir’s relentless attack on Najib’s administration.

“I feel betrayed; I’m mad because we prayed for his wellbeing when he fell sick, now he is behaving like this. I used to hold him in high regard, but I’m really disappointed with what he does now.

“It’s illogical for him to work with the opposition, at his age, he should be sitting on the prayer mat and let the new leader lead,” she said.

Others also questioned the sincerity of Dr Mahathir’s assault on Najib’s leadership, saying that the former prime minister appeared uninterested in any response to his allegations.

Fatimah Gampar, 56,  from Sandakan said it seemed that nothing Najib did was to the satisfaction of the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

“When Tun was in power, no one said anything. Now everything is wrong with Najib. The 1MDB issue has settled, but he still continues to attack Najib, I don’t understand,” she said referring to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad controversy.

At the height of the issue, Dr Mahathir had claimed that RM42 billion “vanished” from 1MDB, but has since retreated to now questioning the RM2.6 billion donation to the party in 2013.

Fatimah said the party was now firmly behind Najib despite Dr Mahathir’s continued allegations as they believed the Umno president was developing the country well and caring for the people.

She also said that she did not support Dr Mahathir as he has abandoned the Malay community and was now working to divide it.

“I don’t understand him, he used to be a national figure, why does he have to do that? It doesn’t look good because he is a respected figure,” Fatimah added.

The disappointment resounded among those who spoke to Malay Mail Online, as was the view that Dr Mahathir is destroying his own legacy by turning against the party that he had led for 22 years.

But it appears that the biggest factor that led them to recoil from Dr Mahathir was his new embrace of DAP, often considered the party’s most direct rival in politics.

Prior to his partnership with the DAP, Dr Mahathir and the Opposition party’s leaders regularly condemned and vilified one another, although this ceased once their collaboration began last year.

For many in Umno, that was an unacceptable line to cross.

“We are disappointed with him. He used to remind us not to sit together with DAP, but now, Tun is with them, it hurts us,” Siti Mariam Mat Isa, 50, from the Bukit Tanah Umno division, said.

“And Malays will be at the losing end, we have to be united. No need to play politics just be together and stay united.”

Several others also said that loyalty to Umno transcends those who head the party, adding while they continued to hold Dr Mahathir in esteem, they were not prepared to betray Umno.

“Loyalty to the party is more important than loyalty to leaders, leaders come and go,” said one Wanita Umno member who declined to be named.

During the opening of the main Umno assembly, Dr Mahathir was accused of betraying his race, his former party, and the country.

Dr Mahathir resigned from the party again this year following his extended campaign against Najib.

He went on to form PPBM, which then joined the Pakatan Harapan opposition pact that includes Umno’s political rival DAP last month.