KUALA LUMPUR: PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned the party’s leaders and members that they must not go down Umno’s path in putting personal aspirations ahead of the struggle for race, religion and country.
In his opening address at the party’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Serdang today, Mahathir told of how Malay masses were not involved in politics prior to the establishment of the Malayan Union.
But the Malays who objected to the Malayan Union, he said, rose against it and forced the British to abandon it
The struggle of the Malays then, he said, was for race, religion and country.
“They didn’t dream of having wealth or positions of power. They never thought of themselves,” he said.
After independence, the prime minister said many Malays began to fill vacancies in the government, and with it came salaries and titles.
“When this happened, many Malays who were talented wanted to benefit themselves through politics.
“They felt their membership in a party could be used for political gain if they could have positions in the party and government,” he said.
Then, Mahathir said, the struggle for race, religion and country shifted to a struggle to become an elected representative, minister and even prime minister.
Even those who did not become elected representatives sought to benefit in business through their party positions.
“They feel if they are branch or division chiefs, they can gain wealth,” he said, to applause from the over 1,200 delegates present at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park, Serdang.
This, he said, happened in his old party, Umno, where leaders put themselves ahead of the party’s struggle.
He said branch chiefs, who were not interested in the struggle, only allowed those who were less intelligent to join the party.
“When they died, their replacement is someone who is less intelligent and he too will only allow those who are less intelligent than him to join.”
Mahathir said when Umno leaders stopped struggling for the people and only struggled for themselves, the people rejected the party.
“Our party cannot be like this. We do not join a party for the benefits,” he said, adding that PPBM was set up when the party (Umno), which once struggled for race, religion and the country, went astray.
“Let us not become like Umno. We must remember the people won’t support a party where the leaders fight for themselves,” he said.
Mahathir said that when the party runs the country well, everyone in the country will benefit.
“I appeal to all to return to our original struggle. Fight not for ourselves but race, religion and country,” he said to shouts of “Hidup Tun (Long Live Tun)”.
The EGM today is aimed at amending the party’s constitution.