KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 – Utusan Malaysia has demanded that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stop his criticism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, fearing that more of such attacks could threaten Malay politics. Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for Umno-owned Utusan’s weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia collective editorial team, said Dr Mahathir should consider the public’s views that want him to be fair to Najib. “It is not too late to salvage the situation because if this continues, it is feared that it can threaten the position of Malay politics.
“What more in a political landscape that is more challenging in this age. It is proven that there are some parties that want to gain from the situation, especially DAP. (They are) smiling away,” he said. Awang said while Najib still has the support, Dr Mahathir should also remain respected for his contributions as a statesman. “I have no answer but hopefully Dr Mahathir will take the sign that many want him to be fairer towards Najib. “In my view, Najib’s leadership should be defended while we all continue to respect Dr Mahathir as a statesman who had done a lot for the nation,” he said.
Awang also said that many were uncomfortable with the present situation and praying for an amicable solution. He said he supported Najib based on many factors and considerations. “The principle is the same. When Dr Mahathir was prime minister, many including Najib and ‘small people’ like Awang, stood firmly by him. “Even though Dr Mahathir also was severely criticised over many issues then, many stepped forward to defend him, even in writing. “The support was given to Dr Mahathir based on merit and confidence. Today, it is Najib’s turn to get the same support,” he said.
Awang said he was also confident that Najib and Dr Mahathir could stand together again. “It is not impossible, even though Dr Mahathir’s remarks against him has been offensive and humiliating. The prime minister still has his patience and calmness. There is room,” he said. Awang also raised questions on what would happen after Najib responded to Dr Mahathir’s criticisms on Thursday during a TV3 interview. “What will happen next? Will Dr Mahathir soften or become louder in putting pressure on Najib? I have no answer but I hope Dr Mahathir takes the message that many want him to be fairer to Najib,” he said.
Dr Mahathir had been criticising Najib’s administration for months on issues related to the debt-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad and the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the implementation of the goods and services tax, the strengthening of the Sedition Act among other matters. He has openly asked for Najib to resign, recently remarking that should Najib remain as the leader of Barisan Nasional and Umno, the coalition would lose the next general election.