KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Najib Razak said today that the country will not be able to prosper if it is left in the hands of a “man from the past”.
Najib said this in what was seen by many as a swipe at the past failures of former prime minister and current opposition leader, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“In order to make Umno a party of the future it cannot be left in the hands of a person from the past.
“The country cannot move forward if you take someone from the past and make him a leader of the future generation.
“There is no logic in that. He cannot represent the future because he is from the past,” Najib said in his winding-up speech on the last day of the 2017 Umno general assembly today.
Najib added that under his leadership, the government managed to save the country RM2 billion compared with the former prime minister whom he said, lost RM31 billion and had refused to acknowledge the wrongdoing.
He was referring to the recent report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the foreign exchange trading losses incurred by Bank Negara in the early 1990s. The report had concluded that the nation lost RM31 billion from 1992 to 1994 and that Mahathir, who was prime minister at the time, had concealed the actual amount lost from the cabinet.
Najib then brought up the issue of cronyism, saying how he had to resolve issues from the past, including that of Perwaja Steel, which had first made the news during the Mahathir administration.
“We must give it (projects) to the right Bumiputeras. By giving it to the wrong Bumiputeras, problems will arise like how certain incidents occurred in the past.
“There are so many more stories, but when you ask about it, the answer we get from the former leader is that he cannot remember.
“He has selective amnesia when anyone tries to question these ‘stories’,” Najib said.
Najib also spoke of how the former leader had the vision to build iconic structures but that such development had no local content.
“Structures like the Petronas Twin Towers were built by renowned foreign developers but it lacked local content.
“It isn’t the same as what we did with the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). The MRT was built with local manpower and talents. The MRT has benefited the public,” Najib said, reassuring the people that the city of Kuala Lumpur and the country will be better managed under the current administration.