KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Malays must stay with Umno as it is the only party that can ensure the race profits, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today in an open letter to its three million strong members.
The former Umno president acknowledged that the country’s biggest political party is plagued by corruption down to its roots, namely the rampant money politics that have buoyed the careers and pockets of certain individuals.
But the veteran leader, whose influence still burns bright within the party, warned long-suffering members not to risk their race’s collective future by sabotaging the upcoming Umno elections or casting their support elsewhere.
“If the federal government is not led by Umno, even if it is led by Malays, they will not help the Malays because they will be indebted to the non-Malays for their support in the general election,” Dr Mahathir said in the letter published in Umno-owned Malay weekly, Mingguan Malaysia.
The former prime minister’s words come at a crucial time after the divisive May 5 general election which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition anchored by Umno take a beating, fuelled in part by discontented veterans who have been accused of splitting Malay support by rebelling against the party.
“Umno is no longer respected by the Malays.
“The loyalty and support from the Malays... are not only lost but we are despised by them and those of other races, especially among the younger generation,” the 88-year-old said.
He said Umno is seen as a party that fights only for certain individuals in the party and to enrich oneself with positions and titles.
“Members have been bribed with money, and there are other forms of bribery such as overseas trips and to perform Umrah.
“With this, the whole of Umno is involved in corruption, by selling votes for money,” Dr Mahathir said.
But the Kedah-born urged the 150,000 delegates who will be making their presence felt in the highly-anticipated October 19 party polls to be patient and to unite for their own good.
He reminded them that ordinary members too would eventually reap the benefits of sticking with Umno in the long-run, so long as the party remains at the helm of the nation’s political decision-making centre.
“Accept the reality and be thankful. Don’t complain that you’ve not been rewarded despite your support for Umno all this while.
“For those who know how to give thanks, Allah promises to give more graces.
“Insya-Allah will see others receive their turn, perhaps our grandchildren will get a turn if Umno’s administration is continued,” Dr Mahathir concluded.