‘If You Oppose Me, You Are Working For UMNO And Taking Bribes From Them’

(Malaysian Digest) – Gag orders are now a common practice in opposition political parties in Malaysia. Just look at how DAP punished their leaders by demoting the status of division representatives, revoking their right to vote for the central executive committee if they opposed the party’s top leaders.

PKR is even more radical in silencing dissent. Any objection towards a member’s decision is expressed in a physical manner like the incident of the ‘flying chair’ during the party election once. Maybe the party’s leadership’s fondness for public demonstraton carries over into the party.

And for leaders who refuse to follow orders, they should be prepared to face the sack. Remember what happened to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who was sacked through the most infamous power grab move in Malaysian history, the ‘Langkah Kajang’.

Now, the ‘gag order’ syndrome has infected the newest party in the recently formed Pakatan Harapan coalition – Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) – that is under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, who respectively hold the position of Chairman, President and Deputy President, often referred to as the ‘M Trio’.

When this M Trio was still with UMNO, they constantly accused President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of abusing his power apart from accusing him of pilfering 1MDB funds for his own personal wealth.

The M Trio, PPBM President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, PPBM Chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PPBM Deputy President Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir

The M Trio, PPBM President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, PPBM Chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PPBM Deputy President Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir

Believing that their voices were being blocked and claiming that the party leadership cannot be criticised, the three of them established PPBM or more known as the ‘Flower Logo Party’ – which supposedly championed freedom of speech.

Parti Pribumi’s ‘Gag Order’ Culture Of Silencing Dissent

The fight for freedom of speech was demanded as a right by every member of PPBM, especially the youths who signed up largely due to the perception of Mahathir as a great leader when he was Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years.

According to UMNO Youth Exco Datuk Armand Azha, most of the youths in their 20s believe that Malaysia’s progress rests solely on the achievements of Mahathir.

“But perhaps they are not aware of the misdeeds committed during his 22 year reign as Prime Minister and plots to topple him from power due to his growing unpopularity.

“During the move to unseat him, UMNO stood firmly behind him as President and he fiercely defended his position. Now he is mad when we stand firm behind Datuk Seri Najib,” he told Malaysian Digest.

Datuk Armand Azha

Datuk Armand Azha

The wrongdoings during Dr Mahathir’s administration was recently questioned by PPBM Youth Exco (Armada) Muhammad Hafiz Azhar, who also demanded an explanation about the extraordinary wealth of Dr Mahathir’s children as well as the accusation of the party president’s scandalous affair with someone’s wife.

Unfortunately for Hafiz, his voice which represented the collective grievances of the Armada grassroots was met with a wall of silence and in turn, he was slandered, criticised and his family was also targeted, said Armand.

“When ‘the flower’ has a problem, he immediately points his finger and accuses the individual who dared to speak up of being an UMNO mole, an agent working for UMNO’s or being in UMNO’s payroll. After that they troll the individual’s Facebook page when he was still in UMNO, and label that person an UMNO spy.

“I want to ask Armada chief Syed Saddiq this question, including the chairman, president and deputy president, if their Facebook was opened four months ago, obviously they would all be wearing an UMNO shirt. Tun Mahathir, Mukhriz, Muhyiddin, all of them.

“If they say that whoever wears an UMNO shirt is a traitor taking bribes from UMNO, are they saying that all of the members of the supreme council including the Section Chief (PPBM) are also bribe takers and UMNO agents? It doesn’t make sense at all,” he stressed.

A Leadership Engulfed In Scandal

The attack on Najib as the Prime Minister and UMNO President at the moment is seen by Armand to be of far greater intensity than during Mahathir’s reign, and the biggest challenge now is the presence of social media that has become the sole source of information for the younger generation.

“There is now a generation that does not understand the history of Tun Mahathir’s administration and think of him as a legend. So when they see stories about the extraordinary wealth of Mahathir and his children, they want an explanation directly from him,” he said.

The wealth of one of Mahathir’s children, Mokhzani who owns a collection of automobiles valued in tens of millions of ringgit, which include a Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Zonda and Porche Carrera GT, has raised questions among the younger generation about the relation between the source of Mahathir’s wealth with his position as Prime Minister back in the days.

“Mirzan was also accused of losing so badly in a gambling session that he had to be bailed out. But he is now obviously still very rich. Mukhriz also received a tender to supply fibre optics for Telekom Malaysia, when his father was still Prime Minister.

“So the extraordinary wealth of his children needs to be explained by Mahathir. The common folk today still toil day and night tirelessly, but their savings in the bank will never even reached RM1 million,” he added.

Meanwhile, the allegations of questionable moral conduct against PPBM’s president that Hafiz had openly questioned was left unanswered after Muhyiddin’s name was mentioned in the hearing to divide assets during the divorce proceeding between former Deputy Prosecutor Stanley Clement Augustin and his wife, Nika Gee.

Stanley through a sworn declaration had stated that Muhyiddin had an affair with his wife that led the couple’s divorce.

“The issue is, during the divorce, the husband of this woman (Nika Gee) said that he divorced her because she had an affair with Tan Sri Muhyiddin. That was what caused it. It wasn’t UMNO who said it.

“The woman in question has also admitted in court. Now Armada is asking the President whether the allegation is true or not because as an Armada youth, he (Hafiz) needs to be bold,” Armand said.

Armand explained that branding Hafiz as an UMNO bribe taker is the normal modus operandi of the opposition coalition to ensure that PPBM’s leadership is above reproach.

“Their modus operandi is to ensure that their members, their supporters do not question the weaknesses in their flower party’s leadership.

“By tarnishing the reputation of anyone who asked about corruption or abuse of power in the fractured flower party, they will label them as an UMNO agent as well as a bribe taker.

“They will insist that the people blindly support them without questioning what they are doing and ensure that the members toe the line, including their supporters, by making them doubt themselves so that in the end they loose the courage to voice their opinions and abandon any intention to offer suggestions as well as criticism towards the leadership,” he points out.

‘The Flower’ Withers Before It Can Bloom

The inherent weaknesses in the leadership of the M Trio surfaced as early as several weeks after PPBM was established when Dr Mahathir’s staunchest supporter, Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan left the party.

Establishing Parti Bebas Rasuah (PBR) together with Datuk Ezam Md Nor (who also left PPBM), Khairuddin hopes to contest in the Pekan constituency against Najib and Ezam wants to challenge Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abd Ghani in the Titiwangsa constituency.

Khairuddin has been vocal in his criticism against PPBM since he left the party, starting with the crisis of the Srikandi Chief (PPBM women’s wing) position, Muhyiddin’s lavish overseas holiday when the party facing a crisis in confidence to the mass exodus of party members happening throughout the country.

Political analyst, Captain (B) Abdul Rahmat Tun Haniff insisted that the ‘flower party’ is now in denial mode and do not want to admit that their party is facing a chronic meltdown.

“They will say whoever dares to raise questions the party’s internal problems are bribe takers, UMNO people or whatever label to shut the mouths of dissenters.

“If this is the way they are fighting for democracy, sorry to say, they are worse than North Korea. Because what is being practised by Pribumi is a form of dictatorship,” Abdul Rahmat stressed.

Abdul Rahmat also agreed that PPBM has now manoeuvred itself into a secure position within the opposition coalition and established their place in Pakatan Harapan, enjoying support from PKR and DAP, who had previously sworn to go to great lengths to oppose Mahathir and Muhyiddin.

“What Pakatan Harapan is doing now is similar to how DAP manipulated Anwar Ibrahim once before. They are only using Mahathir and Muhyiddin as political donkeys for them to ride and get the support of the Malays. When they are not needed any longer, they will not care what happens to PPBM.

“Even now, they can’t even agree when talking about who will be their choice for prime minister. And the others who are being manipulated as well need to understand, they will be discarded when they have served their purpose,” he warned.

Abdul Rahmat said that PPBM is on an ego trip because they feel that they are superior since their leaders consist of a former Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

“The fact is, the former Prime Minister they have right now lost the Kubang Pasu seat during a party election. What is so great about that? He just wants his voice to be heard, to create his own reality based on his definition of how the country should be governed, he has lost touch with reality,” he paints a picture of a leader who is no longer relevant.

Mahathir lost in 2006 during the Kubang Pasu UMNO division, coming in at 9th place, while Mukhriz received a higher ranking (5th place).

With PPBM’s current position within the coalition, Abdul Rahmat does not reject the possibility that if Mahathir is chosen as Prime Minister designate as touted by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim from DAP, the ‘Langkah Kajang’ tragedy will repeat itself against the former Prime Minister.

“This is the reality. Mahathir is a puppet being maniputated by bigger political forces at play. When he is no longer needed, they will just remove him,” he concluded.