11 December 2015
The ongoing UMNO general assembly is proving heated amid the twin scandals of 1MDB and party political donation. However it ends, a new page is being opened in the tumultuous history of UMNO.
The 2015 UMNO General Assembly this week turns a new page in the party’s tumultuous history. It was marked by a tussle between the top two leaders triggered by the twin scandals of 1MDB and political donation affecting the prime minister and UMNO president Najib Razak. Even as the assembly started today (10 Dec 2015) the delegates appeared to be rallying behind the embattled president, while his loyal deputy turned critic, former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, was further sidelined. Najib’s plan to sack him appeared to have been delayed if not pushed back with Muhyiddin retaining his post for now.
Denied his traditional platform to speak as party deputy president, Muhyiddin created an alternative gathering of supporters on 7 December with what amounted to his own “pre-assembly curtain raiser.” Complete with the UMNO flag and anthem and telecast live online, Muhyiddin made a forceful address “to save UMNO” at a rally at the Sultan Sulaiman Club, UMNO’s birthplace in 1946, accompanied by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamed. Speaking as if it was his last stand, Muhyiddin called on Najib to step down temporarily to make way for transparent and independent investigations into the twin scandals – the 1MDB issue and the RM2.6 billion political donation that ended in his personal account. Najib could resume his post, Muhyiddin said, once cleared of wrong-doing. Criticising Najib for creating a “climate of fear” and turning dictatorial by clamping down on those who dared take issue with his leadership, Muhyiddin called for a two-term limit to the tenure of the UMNO president.
… Yang Razali Kassim is Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. An earlier version appeared in The Straits Times.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 14/12/2015