While the president refers to Dr M’s lineage, the Gerik MP says the de facto opposition leader should stop dividing the nation

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad should act like a statesman and unite the country instead of dividing them due to political differences, said an Umno lawmaker today.

“Mahathir as a statesman from this party should be with the government of the day. (Prime Minister and Umno president) Najib Razak is his protégé after all,” said Gerik MP Hasbullah Osman, shortly after Najib delivered his presidential address a the Umno general assembly this morning.

“We are forced to defend ourselves from him. We shouldn’t be doing that since we should be focused on the issues in this nation,” he also said.

“Mahathir only has several issues with Najib. As a statesman from Umno and BN, he shouldn’t be dividing Malaysians. Mahathir should be able to understand that. We need not persuade him,” added Hasbullah.

He said this in response to Najib’s presidential speech in which he spoke bitterly of his mentor and chief critic who is now the chairman of opposition pact Pakatan Harapan and Umno splinter party PPBM.

In his speech, Najib started off with Mahathir’s favourite quote, “Malays forget easily”, before moving to his former mentor’s recent insenstivice Bugis remarks.

“Speaking of Mahathir, before on this stage, he reminded us that Malays forget easily but for us this man has crossed the line when he abetted and joined with his political enemies and enemies in principles for decades just for the sake of his personal and family agenda.

“Clearly the line Malays forget easily refers to himself because those who hold the spirit and philosophy of a party’s struggle like us do not become Malays who forget easily like them,” said Najib.

He also said that it was strange that a former Umno president who is now a key opposition party leader was still trapped in the colonial mind frame to the extent of demeaning the Bugis ethnic.

Najib said that Umno welcomes Malabari Muslims as Malays, in reference to Mahathir’s ethnic lineage.

“How low is his thoughts? Umno celebrates ethnic diversity and the Malay stock. We even recognise Malabari Muslims from Kerala as Malays. We didn’t tell them to return.”

He also reminded delegates of Mahathir’s old age. The former premier is 92.

“It is strange that there are some willing to be led by one whose age is like sunset to night. Even former Zimbabwe president Mugabe who is in his age group has been rejected by the people.”

Jasin Umno committee member Zawawi Mat Zain meanwhile said that he agreed with what Najib had said.

“It is Mahathir who forgot his stature as (former) Umno president. He went against Malay dignity by collaborating with the DAP,” said Zawawi.