Malaysia's ex-PM Najib admits mistakes for Umno's failure, questions move to freeze party accounts over 1MDB

Former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said money politics must not be practised anymore if the party wants to change.
Former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said money politics must not be practised anymore if the party wants to change. PHOTO: REUTERS

PEKAN - Former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak admits he is partly to be blamed for the party's defeat in last month's general election but warned that political parties should not be victimised, as his United Malays National Organisation (Umno) votes to choose a new leader. 

“Don’t freeze the accounts of political parties and disrupt the rise of a constructive opposition,” Datuk Seri Najib said in a Facebook post Saturday (June 30), adding that he welcomed investigations into his own conduct. 

“The unreasonable action of freezing the bank accounts will disrupt the parties’ activities and the rebuilding of the opposition party,” Mr Najib said, a day after a government task force said it froze bank accounts linked to the state-owned investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. 

Malaysian investigators said on Friday they had frozen the accounts of individuals and entities that they allege could potentially be involved in embezzling money from 1MDB.

Mr Najib said on Saturday he took responsibility for the party's failures and stepped down as Umno president even though there were shortcomings at every level of the party, The Star reported.

"It is time to change. We have to choose the best leaders for the party now and not because of benefits. We have to change our values, attitude and approach in order to be respected by the people once again," he was quoted as saying.

The Pekan MP urged party members to return to the basis of Umno's struggle that required them to make sacrifices and be humble.

 
 
 
 

Mr Najib said money politics must not be practised anymore if the party wants to change.

"We know that our glory days are over. We lost in the general election even though we spent so much.

"There were those who sulked when they didn't get allocations. There were those who did get money but said they didn't. Then there were candidates who received allocations but did not spend it.

"How are we supposed to win when our attitude is like that?" he asked.

However, the former premier also blamed Pakatan Harapan for making what he called false promises. He said the Pakatan Government's failure to fulfil promises like lowering petrol prices and giving 2% Employees' Provident Fund contribution to housewives proved that the people had been cheated.

"I can't believe people actually fell for that. My disappointment is not because our agenda was not good but because our loss was due to false promises.

"It is difficult to accept when we did our best for the people with achievable promises," he said.