KUALA LUMPUR – Dec 8, 2015: The gathering at Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru here last night was touted as a platform for Umno dissenters to continue with the recently-discarded party traditions of allowing its deputy president to deliver speeches at the party’s general assembly.
Before the microphone was handed to Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, it was made known that the purpose of the event was to allow him the opportunity to deliver his ‘amanat’ (message) to Umno members.
Muhyiddin was barred from speaking at the general assembly by the party’s supreme council.
“I never knew the reason why I was not allowed to continue with the tradition, they never told me why,” he told the huge crowd who turned up to support him.
“But I applaud my loyal supporters who implore me to deliver my speech in mere hours before the general assembly.”
Muhyddin then spend the rest of his speech repeating his criticism of Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his administration.
He among others touched on the alleged financial mismanagement of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he said had worsen the country’s economic woes.
“It is because of 1MDB’s incorrect business model that our country’s assets have to be sold to foreign companies so that the company (1MDB) can pay its debt,” he stressed.
However, despite criticising the party’s number one, Muhyiddin never directly uttered Najib’s name.
He even assured the people that he bore no ill-will towards Najib.
That may be so, but the cynical undertones of his speech and his innuendoes seemed to suggest otherwise.
Through his couched nuances, Muhyiddin’s message to his supporters was clear that he does not want Najib to lead Umno and the country anymore.
This is because Najib, according to what he has been implying, is jeopardising Umno’s political survival.
Muhyiddin also appeared to be pulling out all the stops in rallying for support from dissident Umno members.
He even suggested for Najib to take an immediate leave as the Prime Minister until the probe on billions of ringgits alleged to have been pumped into his personal account is completed.
Coincidentally, it was also the same recommendation as to what the opposition parties leaders have proposed a few months ago.
“It’s not that complicated actually…if the Prime Minister is proven to be innocent, then he can come back and assume his position.
“If he (Najib) continues to stay as Prime Minister while the investigation is still on-going then it would only fuel the perception that the government is meddling with the agencies tasked to do the probe,” he reasoned.
Towards the end of his speech, Muhyiddin stressed that he could have kept a low profile after he was sacked from his Cabinet post, but many Umno members did not want him to do so.
“My supporters wanted me to keep on striving for the greater good of Umno.
“On my Facebook page, one of them had even said that I should remind the upper echelons in Umno that cash is not king,” said Muhyiddin as he read the Facebook comment on his official page.
Muhyiddin said that he was worried that if the “cash-is-king mentality” continues to fester within Umno, the spirit of democracy in the party will perish.
He claimed the people felt that the present government are no longer concerned with their well-being.
“If I were to tell him (Najib)…I would say that it is his call. Ask your morale conscience and do what is best for the people.
“Sadly, we have lost that lovely feeling that we once had with the people and it is because Umno has a grave issue that is lack of integrity.
“In order to regain their (the people’s) trust, Umno must change…it must carry a national agenda that transcends all races and those who are cancerous to Umno will have to be ousted,” he said.
At the end of his speech, Muhyiddin assured his supporters that he, along with the party’s vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who was also recently sacked from the Cabinet will attend the party’s assembly.
“I know I will be heavily criticised for my actions tonight. They will say that I have wronged the party.
“But I know that I am not committing any crime against the party for voicing my concern on the party’s well-being,” said Muhyiddin.