Malaysiakini Special Report

Mahathir ended free speech in Umno, says Tengku Razaleigh

Malaysiakini Team  |  Published:  |  Modified:

INTERVIEW | It was Dr Mahathir Mohamad who ended the free speech culture in Umno by making it compulsory for delegates to have their speech scripts approved by the party before they can debate in the Umno's annual general assemblies.

"This practice has been there for 25 years. It was (the doing) of Mahathir," Umno presidential candidate Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah told Malaysiakini in an interview ahead of tomorrow’s party leadership elections.

Mahathir helmed Umno from 1981 to 2003 and he resigned from Umno in 2016. He has since worked with several other former Umno leaders to set up Party Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

"The delegates (list) needed to be verified by the supreme council before they can speak at the AGM. Their speech scripts must obtain the approval too," Tengku Razaleigh said.

The leadership might even edit the speech scripts of the delegates if needed, said the Gua Musang parliamentarian.

"During the era of Tunku (Abdul Rahman) and Abdul Razak (Hussein) and (ex-deputy president) Dr Ismail (Abdul Rahman), the members could speak freely. What they needed to do was just to raise their hands (to be allowed to speak).

"The speakers at the party AGM would choose those who observed the standing order," he said...

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