10 November 2018
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 — Malaysia’s political landscape continued shifting today, with another Utusan Malaysia editor openly criticising Umno and its leadership in an opinion piece.
Utusan news editor Zulkifli Jalil asked the Malay nationalist party what it has learned — if any — from the results of the general election that consigned Umno and the crumbling Barisan Nasional (BN) to defeat.
The piece is the second this week that is critical of Umno, following another by Utusan assistant chief editor Datuk Zaini Hassan that said the newspaper cannot afford to continue carrying water for the defeated Malay nationalists.
In his piece today, Zulkifli noted that Umno has yet to announce its strategies and plans to chart the party’s revival and possible return to power, before asking if it has lost its appetite for battle simply because the gravy train was now derailed.
“Does finishing the money that has been pocketed also mean the end of the struggle? That when the pocketed money is used up, the values and struggle for race, religion and country also end?
“And because of the process of choosing money instead of leaders, that Umno will stay weak and defeated?” he wrote today.
He also pressed the party to wake up to its reality and to stop listening only to the things that it wants to, asserting that even as late as 6.30pm on May 9, BN was still being told that it had seized back Selangor; BN was nearly wiped out in the state
In an overt attack against the money politics in Umno, he told party members that the ability to offer “tributes” alone should not be the main determinant of a leader’s true mettle.
“Is he only a fair-weather leader but runs in the face of trouble? Or just someone who bought his way to the top?”
5 Nov 2018
Batu Pahat Umno division chief Puad Zarkashi has urged Utusan Malaysia to apologise to former premier Najib Abdul Razak over its editorial accusing the latter of lying about the about the multi-billion ringgit “donation” in his personal bank account.
In a comment piece carried by the paper today, Puad said if the Malay daily fails to do so, then Umno members should boycott it for jumping to conclusions in the matter.
Puad had specifically named Utusan Group executive chairperson Abdul Aziz Sheik Fadzir as being the official voice behind “Awang Selamat”, the pen name of the writer behind the daily’s editorial.
“What is Aziz’s agenda by making Utusan a tool to force Najib to apologise to Umno members over 1MDB? Is Aziz part of the game plan by Mahathir Mohamad and Daim (Zainuddin) to further split Umno, post- GE14?
“Aziz has gone to the extreme as even the MACC has not made any charges against Najib regarding the RM2.6 billion allegedly from 1MDB. On what basis then is Aziz accusing Najib of being guilty, and asking for his apology?” wrote Puad.
According to Puad, Aziz had even surpassed the courts as none of the 38 charges currently faced by Najib had anything to do with stealing 1MDB money.
“Thus, it is bad for him to label Najib a cheater. Unless he (Aziz) denies that he is ‘Awang Selamat’.”
The broadside against Najib could be due to the possibility of Aziz himself being subjected to MACC investigations, Puad alleged.
“Aziz is now the same with Pakatan Harapan, which is worried that Najib’s popularity will kill the slander that BN’s loss in GE14 was due to the 1MDB scandal. Aziz must acknowledge that his act benefits Harapan and confuses Umno members.
“His act of using the ‘Awang Selamat’ editorial column to attack Najib incidentally happened a day after Najib had a Facebook live session with his supporters at PWTC. That session proved to be successful with the youth, with viewership touching 602,656 thus far,” said Puad.
“Aziz should apologise to Najib for jumping to conclusion. If he refuses to do so, then it is better for Umno members to boycott Utusan.”
The editorial in the paper’s weekend edition had stopped short of calling Najib a thief, citing an old saying that “not all thieves are liars but all liars would always steal”.
4 Nov 2018
PETALING JAYA: Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia today issued a rare rebuke of Najib Razak, urging the former leader to apologise to party members for repeatedly lying about the source of the millions of dollars he received in his bank account.
“Najib must apologise to all Umno members because it is this lie that has actually wiped out the people’s confidence in the Barisan Nasional leadership, ultimately leading to the party’s defeat,” the paper wrote under the “Awang Selamat” pseudonym which represents its editorial voice.
Najib, who is facing multiple charges related to money laundering and corruption, has maintained that some US$700 million he received in 2013 – money that has come to be known as the RM2.6 billion transaction found in his private bank account – was a donation by the Saudi royal family to finance Umno’s general election campaign in that year.
“This has led to Malaysians, Umno members particularly, feeling cheated as all this while they accepted his explanation that the money was a donation from the Saudi government,” said Utusan, in a first hard-hitting commentary against Najib since his fall from grace in the May elections.
The paper said it did not make sense that the former prime minister did not know the original source of the money in the wake of revelations showing it was from Tanore Finance Corporation.
“What is more illogical is that Najib had never taken the initiative to show his gratitude to the Saudi government or to King Abdullah directly if the big sum was indeed a donation from them,” it said, adding that Najib’s “lies” were finally exposed during his recent interview with Al-Jazeera.
“Not all thieves are liars but those who lie are usually thieves,” the paper said.