KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that he is not a dictator as he indirectly criticised his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Local portal Malaysiakini reported Najib as saying that he had brought the proposal for the “Crooked Bridge,” a pet project of Dr Mahathir’s that was meant to replace the Causeway linking Johor to Singapore, to the Umno supreme council who then collectively decided against the project.
“I’m not a one man show, I’m not a dictator,” Najib was quoted saying at the launch of the Tangga Batu Umno division meeting in Malacca.
The prime minister, 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 grants the government sweeping emergency powers. – Malay Mail