Monday, February 29, 2016

Umno can now easily deal with Dr Mahathir, says Nazri Aziz

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has done the right thing by leaving Umno and it will now be easier to deal with his criticism, says party supreme council member Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. Nazri, also the culture, arts and tourism minister, said Dr Mahathir's decision came as no surprise to Umno members as he had done it before. "He has been attacking us relentlessly. Over the past year he has been attacking us more viciously. And this was just like (the) opposition. "The right thing for him to do is to leave Umno and fight us in the open. Umno members are generally deferential towards their leaders but now with him out it would be easier for them to deal with him. "It is not our policy to be happy when people leave the party but we have to deal with this," Nazri told The Malaysian Insider today by phone from Beijing, China. Dr Mahathir announced his decision to quit the country's biggest Malay party, saying Umno was no longer what it used to be and its focus now was to keep Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in power. This is the second time the former prime minister has quit Umno, the first was in May 2008, over unhappiness with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the then prime minister who had led Barisan Nasional to dismal results in the general election that year. Dr Mahathir was also sacked from the party in 1969. In a way, Nazri said, Dr Mahathir, who trained as a medical doctor, was practising what he had said after sacking Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from the party in 1998. "He had said at that time, as a doctor, if a part of the body became gangrenous, it had to be removed or cut off. So he sacked Anwar. And I suppose this is what he has done today - (he has) left us as he felt we are no longer useful," he said. Nazri was sceptical that Dr Mahathir's departure would rock the party and trigger a massive crisis for its leadership. "We have faced so many similar situations and the party survived. Dr Mahathir himself fought Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Tun Musa Hitam and sacked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Umno survived all this and is still around," he said. Nazri said Umno under Najib had emerged stronger as seen in the 2013 general election. "We got back Kedah and Terengganu and increased our Members of Parliament from 79 to 88 seats. We are stronger under the current president," he said. – March 1, 2016.]]>

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