Sep 19, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Don't field Isa for Bagan Pinang

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad should not be nominated as candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election as he has been found guilty of political corruption.

PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad should not be nominated as candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election.

He said Umno's image would be affected because it would be regarded as not being serious in fighting money politics if it chose those who had been found guilty of political corruption.

"Isa has already been found guilty. If Umno fields him, it means that Umno is not serious about such cases.

"Even if he can win there, (we) have to consider what the whole of Malaysia thinks of Umno," he said in an interview yesterday.

He was asked to comment on speculation that Isa, the Teluk Kemang Umno division head, was in the candidate list for the Bagan Pinang by-election.

Dr Mahathir said that although the Teluk Kemang Umno division wanted Isa to contest, the people would view him as representing Umno nationwide and reflecting Umno's position.

"One can win to become Umno president but it does not mean that he can win elections," he said.

Isa was suspended for three years from June 24, 2005, for money politics in the 2004 Umno elections.

He was originally suspended for six years or two terms but this was reduced after he appealed.

On the MCA crisis, Dr Mahathir said it could be resolved if the party leaders placed the interests of the party above self.

"A leader will not do anything to destroy the party. If you know that you are no longer qualified, for whatever reason, you stop.

"Don't cling on to the post."

He said leaders should realise that it they owed their status to the party.

The MCA crisis escalated following the sacking of deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek for his sex scandal in 2007, which was said to have tarnished the party's image.

The party will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Oct 11 to resolve its leadership dispute

Sep 18, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Samy Vellu has failed, a liability to BN

Responding to Tun Mahathir's comment, Samy Vellu describes Tun Mahathir's comments as akin to "telling a young wife that she is beautiful and an asset, but when she becomes old, she is branded a liability"

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 18 — MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu will become a liability to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the next general election because his leadership has failed, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

The former prime minister said he was worried that the people’s support for the BN would erode and the coalition would be the victim because Samy Vellu was still leading the MIC.

Samy Vellu must step down as party president because he must take responsibility for the party’s failure in the last general election and for his own loss, Dr Mahathir said in an interview with Bernama yesterday.

"If we look at other countries, whenever a leader fails, he resigns. In Japan he commits harakiri. We're not asking him (Samy Vellu) to commit harakiri.

"You (Samy Vellu) have failed to lead the MIC until you yourself lost," he said.

Citing the example of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who resigned after his poor performance, Dr Mahathir said: "Samy Vellu performed worse than Pak Lah (Abdullah) but he did not want to relinquish the post.

"He should have resigned before things got to this stage."

He said he had a right to criticise anyone for the sake of the BN, adding: "I've criticised Pak Lah; who's Samy Vellu that I cannot criticise?"

Dr Mahathir's criticism of Samy Vellu before the MIC elections last week was seen as an attempt to interfere in MIC affairs and had raised the ire of a delegate who suggested that a garland of slippers be placed on his portrait.

Dr Mahathir said leaders must realise that the post they held was not for life.

"This is not directed at Samy Vellu alone because there are others who are like him," he added.

He said he had wanted to resign in 1998 but, because of the economy and the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issue, had to continue leading the nation until 2003.

"I resigned not when people criticised me. I resigned because I had stayed too long.

"Malaysian leaders still do not understand that when they fail they should resign of their own volition, no need for others to tell them. When you fail, your party fails. You are responsible," he said.

Asked what the BN could do in view of its principle of not interfering in the affairs of component parties, he said that when the matter became a problem for the BN, the coalition would become the victim if it did not intervene.

He said BN leaders must admonish Samy Vellu because as BN leaders they were responsible not only for the performance of their own parties but also that of the BN as a whole.

"If I know that a person will cause the BN to lose, that is already a BN problem, no longer an MIC problem. We cannot keep saying don't interfere. This is a BN affair. Because of him, the BN lost.

"Previously there was no Hindraf. Now there are scores (of pressure groups from the Indian community.) It's him that the people don't want but he still wants to be president," he added

He said leaders who resorted to money, pressure, abuse of power and threats could remain as party presidents but would not win elections.

On Samy Vellu's chosen leaders winning the party elections last week, Dr Mahathir said they could win party elections but would lose in general elections because the people would not support them.

He also criticised Samy Vellu for not playing a role to stop the building of temples without approval despite having promised to do so.

He said Samy Vellu became popular because he (Dr Mahathir) had helped him.

"He wanted to build a university, I persuaded the government to give a RM50 million allocation and I've helped in many more of his projects," he said.

Reflecting on his past duties as prime minister, Dr Mahathir said he had to persuade the Malays to allow the BN to place MIC candidates in Malay-majority areas because no constituency in the country had an Indian majority.

"Besides that, I also strove to get the MIC candidates supported by the Malays. Without support from Umno members and the other Malays, the MIC could not win. So that's my service to the MIC.

"But when the MIC does something that will cause it not to be supported by the Indians, Chinese and Malays, I have to criticise," he said.

Sep 17, 2009

Tun Mahathir says quota change pointless if UMNO stays corrupt

Former UMNO president Dr Mahathir Mohamad hopes that the decision to abolish the quota system will put an end to party presidents abusing their power. "I am praying that the abuse of power by the president will be eliminated and his challenger will be able to contest (for the post).
"But until now, there is no decision on how a candidate is to be nominated," added Mahathir who helmed the party and nation for 22 years

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — The man who introduced the quota system for Umno elections, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is ironically backing its abolition but maintained today that it would mean nothing if the party’s core remains corrupt.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced last Friday the abolition of the quota system which previously required candidates contesting for top posts to get the backing of at least 60 of the 192 divisions nationwide.

The move was supposedly aimed at preventing vote buying but Dr Mahathir, in his latest blog posting, appeared somewhat sceptical that it had made any difference to the growing culture of money politics in the party.

Dr Mahathir said that the quota system had failed after it was found that a party president could abuse it to ensure he would be the only one nominated for the post.

He recounted that in 1986, his challenger for the party’s top post, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, had garnered nearly 50 per cent of votes from the delegates even though he had only received a meagre 20 per cent of nominations from the 192 divisions nationwide.

That paved way for a power tussle in the party, which was subsequently declared illegal by the courts. Umno Baru or New Umno was later established but not without heavy cost.

The party was split with Razaleigh and his followers forming Semangat 46.

Following this, the 10 votes bonus system was introduced for any nomination secured by a candidate contesting for top posts but this was also abused, said Dr Mahathir.

“When Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim challenged the late Tun Ghaffar Baba for the deputy presidency, for some reason the former had managed to garner enough nominations so that with just the bonus votes he defeated the latter.

“Clearly, there was something wrong with this bonus votes system as well,” he said.

It was due to this that the party supreme council decided to use the quota system, he said.

But Dr Mahathir said it was clear the quota system had also failed to eradicate money politics in Umno.

“Actually, there is no flawless system. Whether or not the system works depends on those practising it. When the practitioner is easily bribed at all levels, whatever system used won’t produce the desired effect,” he said.

Sep 12, 2009

Tun Mahathir : MIC is finished if Samy refuses to go

Like an electric shock, a great shudder is coursing through the MIC after former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad waded into the party election campaign by attacking his one-time supporter and urging delegates to elect good, clean leaders like challenger Datuk S. Subramaniam. Mahathir said delegates should remove Samy Vellu, who was “elected” unopposed for an 11th term as president in March.