Dr M’s first stint as PM a success only because of Umno, says Tok Mat

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PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad governed the country well during his first stint as prime minister only because he was an Umno leader, the party’s deputy president Mohamad Hasan said today.

Speaking out on former Umno leaders who have found it hard to maintain their prominence after they left, Mohamad highlighted how Mahathir’s second stint as prime minister lasted only 22 months.

Mahathir led the country for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, and again for 22 months from May 2018 to January 2020.

“There are many leaders who are great, but when they are alone and not with a dominant party in an established coalition, they just cannot excel as they did before,” he said during an online ceramah hosted by Umno.

“Look at the 22 months that PH ruled. Just after the last general election, the people’s hopes with Mahathir as prime minister at the time was very high because of his success as a prime minister when he was Umno president.

“However, for a prime minister, if he isn’t supported by a team and an institution like Umno, which has experience in ruling the country, then it’s hard for them to govern.”

Similar sentiments were shared by former prime minister and Umno president Najib Razak last week, who said that former BN leaders who jumped ship will find it hard to win seats in any election.

Najib took aim at those from BN and Umno’s inner circle who left the party, saying that such leaders only rose to prominence because they had the party’s blessings.

In a wide-ranging interview today, Mohamad said that Mahathir’s failure during his second stint was also due to differences within PH component parties, their inability to support him, and the ambiguity as to when he would vacate his post.

Mohamad, who is BN’s election director for the Melaka polls, repeated that he was confident BN could win at least 18 of the 28 seats at Saturday’s state election due to the strong support he has seen for the coalition.

Meanwhile, he also mocked the opposition for still harping on the 1MDB scandal in its attacks on BN.

“Why don’t they comment on our manifesto. I would like to see them debate (us) on that,” he said.

He also touched on the allegations of illegal sand mining activities that the previous BN-led Melaka government were involved in, stating that such claims were rampant even during his first tenure as Negeri Sembilan menteri besar in 2004.

This comes amid claims that the Melaka state government led by Sulaiman Md Ali had approved several sand concessions.

Sulaiman, who is aiming to defend his Lendu seat, promised that he would form a special committee to investigate these claims.

“This is a never-ending story. But I will fully cooperate in any investigation carried out by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and police on the issue,” said Sulaiman, who appeared alongside Mohamad in the online ceramah.

“Let’s settle this once and for all. Give us the mandate (at the election) and we will investigate this.”

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