Sep 3, 2006

Democracy in Umno is dead - Tun Mahathir

Excerpt from MalaysiaKini

Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Umno’s culture of allowing dissent has given way to a more autocratic rule now, claiming that this has killed off democracy within the party.

Mahathir, who once received criticisms for enacting draconian polices while in office, turned the tables and described Umno as being beleaguered with a new ‘culture’ of authoritarianism that slams dissenting voices from the grassroots.

Speaking at a thanksgiving ceremony organised by Padang Jual Umno division in Kuala Pillah, Negeri Sembilan, the former premier and Umno president said Umno’s cause is to serve and protect the needs of the Malay community and should not be tied down if the party’s leadership has failed to do so.

Describing the party’s history of having survived the departures of some of its earlier leaders, Mahathir said that Umno’s struggle ‘is far from over’ and warned that the party is showing signs that it might be forgetting the party’s original objectives.

“In our country, within Umno, there is no longer democracy. What there is left is an iron fisted rule of Umno that uses the government to obstruct people from speaking with one another.

Mahathir claimed that many of his former associates are distancing themselves from him: “There are people who are afraid of being associated with me. Friends who sat in the same table as I did for 20 years today no longer want to be associated with me. And I accept this because this is a new culture within Umno, this is a new behaviour by Umno, behaviour that is unexpected.

The former prime minister also addressed recent name calling against him by Umno members: “All sorts of names have been thrown at me, beruk (ape), iblis (demon), and challenges whether I am anak jantan or anak betina (man or woman).

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