KUALA LUMPUR: In a veiled attack against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Najib Razak today called on Malaysians to support Umno as the party of the future and reject “a leader from the past”.
Without mentioning Dr Mahathir’s name , Najib said the Pakatan Harapan chairman lacked the capabilities required to carry the nation forward.
“If you want a party of the future, you cannot take someone from the past. It is illogical. He doesn’t represent the future.
“A man from the past will bring ideas of the past into the future,” said Najib in his winding up speech at the end of the three-day Umno annual assembly here.
Malaysians, he said, wanted a government that could draw up new ideas and adapt to the changing economic landscape.
The Umno president said Barisan Nasional, with Umno as its lynchpin, had succeeded in this aspect by establishing the Digital Free Trade Zone.
“If we want to be rich, and if we want the Malays to progress, we need to leapfrog and move ahead quickly. That is why we established a strong relationship with China, Japan, India and Saudi Arabia.”
The prime minister said the country continues to enjoy positive economic development thanks to Umno’s struggles.
“And hopefully by next year, (Saudi) Aramco will invest US$7 billion (RM28.7 billion) in our country,” he said, adding that more Malaysians could perform the Haj thanks to Malaysia’s healthy relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Pakatan Harapan last week proposed Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, to become the prime minister should the pact win the 14th General Election.
Najib also trained his guns on DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who had been accused by a disgruntled DAP leader of aspiring to be the prime minister.
“I heard that Lim is interested in becoming the prime minister. But DAP’s (one-term) Jawi assemblyman left the party because he says Lim is a dictator who will rule with an iron fist.”
Meanwhile, in his winding up speech, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi praised Najib for adopting a consultative leadership style, contrary to a “previous leader’s” authoritarian style of leadership.
Without naming anyone, Zahid, who is carrying the duties of the Umno deputy president, congratulated Najib for tearing down the walls that had divided the party and for uniting Umno members.
"I must commend the president (Najib) for his consultative leadership quality and for changing the perception that the ‘government knows best’. The current government is now open to suggestions.
“This is contrary to the authoritarian leadership practiced by a former leader who centralised all the power on himself," he said.