Firing a broadside at his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister Najib Razak said that he was not a dictator and does not intend to be one.
Najib said it was Umno supreme council, not him, which rejected the idea of constructing the crooked bridge linking Johor and Singapore.
It’s an open secret that the crooked bridge is Mahathir’s pet project.
“I’m not a one man show, I’m not a dictator,” Najib reported said when he officially opened the Tangga Batu Umno division meeting in Malacca.
Najib, who is also Umno president, reportedly pointed out that under his leadership, the Umno constitution was amended in 2009 so that over 100,000 grassroots members would be eligible to vote in party elections compared to an estimated 2,500 delegates in previous polls.
“I wanted to be appointed by the grassroots… If I maintained the constitution, I could easily stay on as president for more than 22 years,” Najib was quoted saying.
Dr Mahathir, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, held the post for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.
He was also the Umno president during that time.
All of Malaysia’s prime ministers have come from the Malay nationalist party.
Najib has faced criticism from civil society and opposition politicians over several actions he’s taken, including the creation of the National Security Council Act 2016 that granted the government sweeping emergency powers.