Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lashed out today at Umno’s disciplinary board for squandering a chance to clean up the party and restore its credibility.
The former Umno president also said he had little confidence in the current crop of party leaders, as he stepped up his rhetoric ahead of next week’s crucial Umno elections.
Earlier this week, he described Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who will assume the Umno presidency next week, as someone who did not shine as deputy prime minister.
Dr Mahathir also acknowledged the perception problem faced by Najib over allegations about his involvement in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.
Today, the fiery ex-prime minister suggested that Umno’s biggest task at hand is to clean up the party to regain public support, and he blamed the disciplinary board for failing to do a proper job this week.
“They had a good chance to clean up Umno but they did not carry out their task properly.” he said.
Umno’s disciplinary panel has barred Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam from contesting next week’s party polls, but let off Khairy Jamaluddin with a warning even though both men were found guilty of money politics, or vote buying.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that some candidates had been found guilty of the same crime but received different punishments, while others who are known to be involved in corruption had been cleared.
He did not say who he thought were known to be corrupt, but both Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib have been battling hard to shake off accusations of vote-buying and corruption from their rivals.
Dr Mahathir added the sentences imposed by the disciplinary board should have been according to the principles of justice.
“They (Board) should know, most of them are lawyers.” he said.
He also cautioned Umno against entertaining appeals from Mohd Ali to be allowed to campaign for the deputy presidency in a campaign which he was seen to be leading.
Dr Mahathir said any reversal would further erode public confidence in the disciplinary board and the party.
Dr Mahathir, who was speaking to the press after attending the opening of the Sultan Abdul Hamid Old Collegian Association (SAHOCA) building in Kelana Jaya today, also took a swipe at the incoming crop of Umno leaders and their ability to lead the country.
“I have no confidence in most of them.”
He said Umno is likely to lose the next general elections if they fail to clean up the party.
Malaysians (including Dr Mahathir) have no confidence in Umno leaders