By A Reader
|Shahrir Abdul Samad|
Shahrir Samad said in JB on Saturday that Umno has a history of smothering dissent, dating back tothe time of Tunku Abdul Rahman.
As a flippant, loosely revisionist Umno historian, the senior-veteran MP didn't offer specifics except for his own episode which was blurry at best.
Shahrir is a one-agenda politician and super proud of it. And that has always been to oppose Dr Mahathir Mohamad. For that he has been consistent and unforgiving.
He reminded his listeners the other day that he was a Team B stalwart, referring to the movement that challenged Dr Mahathir in 1987 with a view of ousting him at the party polls. Shahrir said the likes of Muhyiddin Yassin should not be complaining about eadership issues because the current political leadership belonged to Team A!
Shahrir must be extremely proud of his role in Team B. They went on roadshows to denounce Dr Mahathir. This movement eventually was supported by two former Prime Ministers. These personalities were not investigated with a view of expelling them from Umno. Shahrir did contest as an Independent in 1988 retaining JB in a byelection with a 15, 000-majority.
He returned to Umno and by 2000 was describing Dr Mahathir, then Prime Minister, as a leader who "is a liability to his own party." Shahrir polled significant number of dissenting votes in the 2000 party elections. He stayed in Umno and subsequently made a brief return to the Cabinet.
The Tunku-era expulsion from Umno must be Dr Mahathir's. Dr Mahathir left Umno during the leadership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The long-serving MP for Kubang Pasu was prevented from going to the Perhimpunan Agong as a G7 delegate.
Johari Baharom, Mahadzir Khalid and Osman Aroff reportedly ganged up to see to it that Mahathir failed in his attempt to win one of the seven slots.
Dr Mahathir returned to the Umno fold minus rancour. He had a hand in ensuring Najib Razak assumed the leadership but did not fuss about the presence of the Kubang Pasu conspirators - Johari Baharom and Mahadzir Khalid who is Minister of Education. One could sense, judging from the Minister's public remarks, that he has been one of those working to get seven Umno personalities suspended or removed outright.
Shahrir is supposedly supporting this move as well. He was merely defending the Johor MB who in his reckoning has not sinned against Umno to be including in the Gang of Seven. Khaled Nordin was Shahrir's political secretary.