LONDON, May 18 – UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN) had afforded Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad enormous benefits and enabled him to be prime minister for 22 years. However, his action of opposing UMNO now caused many to think he was stabbing the party which also gave enormous benefits to his family members, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“He and his family had derived a lot of benefits from his position as PM which was due to the strength of UMNO and BN. So, when he told the people to reject the party which had done a lot, there were negative reactions against his stand because without BN and UMNO, he would not have become prime minister or even a minister.”
Najib was speaking at a news conference Tuesday night at the end of his working visit to the United Kingdom. He was expected to depart on Wednesday morning for Sochi, Russia for the two-day Russian-ASEAN Summit. Najib was asked to comment on Dr Mahathir’s statement which called on opposition parties to be united against BN in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections on June 18.
The prime minister said many were of the view that Dr Mahathir should not reject and stab the party that had contributed so much to the development of the nation. Asked on whether he was disappointed with the matter, Najib said he had expected it (Dr Mahathir’s action). The Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar parliamentary seat by-elections will be held following the demise of incumbents Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan and Datuk Noriah Kasnon in a helicopter crash in Sarawak recently.
When asked on the upcoming cabinet reshuffle, the prime minister said he was still thinking about it and he touched on the need to fill the posts in the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, including the post of secretary-general. This followed the resignation of Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas as Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister and the death of his deputy, Noriah, and the secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai. — Bernama