Asia

Dr M’s party too risky, directionless for Malaysia: Najib

Dr M’s party too risky, directionless for Malaysia: Najib
The leaders of Pakatan Harapan, including former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (seated, second from left), showcase their new logo at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday. Photo: Malay Mail Online
Umno making the most of the opposition’s internal wrangling as election date draws closer
Published: 4:00 AM, July 17, 2017
Updated: 10:03 AM, July 17, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysians should not risk their future by placing their fate in the hands of the opposition, said Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday as he hit out at his opponents, who he said cannot even decide who should lead them.

He told Malaysians to choose wisely in the next general election, which must be held by July next year, although speculation is rife that it will be called by this year.

“If we are in a situation that is unclear and directionless, where we are unsure who calls the shots, directions and policies, we will have a high-risk future,” he said. “(In contrast) Umno has been around for 60 years, and has brought the country to great heights. So, why should we take (unknown) risks,” he said, using the acronym for the ruling United Malays National Organisation, of which Mr Najib is president.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, of which Umno is the lynchpin party, will likely face its biggest electoral battle in the next election as it squares up against the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact, led by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two former deputy prime ministers Muhyiddin Yassin and Anwar Ibrahim.

The line-up for PH was announced on Friday after weeks of backroom wrangling between the four parties — Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) — in the opposition coalition.

In the new PH line-up, Dr Mahathir was appointed as its chairman, Anwar as the de facto leader, while Anwar’s wife and PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is president.

Umno leaders have been quick to fire broadsides at the top-heavy leadership structure of PH, claiming the coalition was doomed to sink as it had three skippers instead of one.

In contrast, Mr Najib said yesterday there is a hierarchy in Umno, a structured line-up and a clear leadership in governing the country.

Earlier on Saturday night, Mr Najib again touted BN’s track record in administering the country, in contrast to the fractured opposition who he said cannot make up their minds who should lead them.

“Do not jeopardise our future, do not choose those in disarray who do not know who their real boss is,” Malay daily Utusan Malaysia quoted Mr Najib as saying. “Everyone has a post, we do not know who is the boss,” he added, in apparent reference to PH’s leadership line-up.

Meanwhile, Umno leaders yesterday continued to slam the new PH’s line-up, with Umno Vice-President Hishammuddin Hussein describing it as “muddled”. “What (PH) is doing is illustrating the saying that ‘the ends justify the means’. Those not deserving of being named leaders have now been appointed leaders. I am not sure whether they are serious, or if they are simply doing this for (political expediency),” he said.

Foreign minister Anifah Aman warned BN supporters to expect action to be taken against them if PH formed the next federal government.

“They will not let any of the BN supporters go and they will inflict revenge upon us,” he said in Sabah during a Hari Raya gathering. AGENCIES