KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 – It is up to Umno members to decide if Datuk Seri Najib Razak should step aside if Barisan Nasional (BN) fails to get a stronger mandate in Election 2013, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
But the former prime minister (picture), a staunch supporter of the administration, said Najib was unfortunately faced with the disadvantage of inheriting a weak government headed by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“I think he’s trying to do better than Tun Abdullah. And I think he can,” Dr Mahathir added.
Dr Mahathir said it was his personal opinion that Najib should give way to Deputy Umno president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin if BN only scores a slim majority in the elections.
“If he fails, he should move of course,” Dr Mahathir told reporters during the 15th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference here.
However, he said that the decision ultimately lies with party members to decide the fate of their president.
The matter of Abdullah’s weak cabinet cropped up several times during the event today, with Institute of Political and Economic Affairs (IKAPE) chairman Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad declaring that significant gain by PR in the last polls was a fluke, brought by a response against former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“It was more of a protest against the inept Abdullah administration of broken promises, infantile behaviour and abuse of power,” he said in a forum discussing the outlook of Election 2013.
In a luncheon address earlier today, Dr Mahathir has described Najib’s administration as weaker from the previous ones due to a slim majority in the last elections.
As a result, Najib’s administration has to resort to meeting demands and delivering handouts in order to satisfy every parties, he said.
“When you see a government that is weak, that has only a small majority, then all sorts of criticism and demands will be made against them,” he said.
“If there is a strong government, with a two-thirds majority, the government can expect full support from the parliament and from the people as well.”
The longest serving prime minister also warned Malaysians against voting for change today, arguing that it will result in a weak government that will hinder economic progress.
“Change itself will be destructive, and turmoil is not good for any country,” Dr Mahathir said.
He also gave the examples of changes promised by Idi Amin in Uganda and Barack Obama in the United States which, he claimed, were not for the better.