Don't be afraid to speak up against leadership: Malaysia's former DPM

PUTRAJAYA: Umno members must not be afraid to speak up against the party leadership if it is the right thing to do, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Umno deputy president said on Monday that he knew there were many members at grassroots level who were concerned about the leadership and the country's current situation, but were not willing to speak out.

"When I go down to the ground, the feeling among the grassroots is obvious. I have met with party leaders at all levels.

"But Umno members, perhaps out of respect or due to our Malay culture, we tend to suppress our feelings.

"I ask them to be open and express their feelings. Do not be fearful of consequences if you are doing the right thing," said Muhyiddin, at a press conference with several Barisan Nasional veterans at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here.

Muhyiddin, who was recently dropped from his post as deputy prime minister, said members should use "the right platforms" to voice their dissatisfaction, including the upcoming Umno general assembly.

"I am not saying that you should go against the leadership, but you must voice your concerns. Do not keep quiet.

"I have voiced out many times when I was still in the Government. Of course, look what happened to me. But it's okay.

"But most importantly, Umno cannot be seen as dumb and unconcerned about what is happening to the country," said Muhyiddin.

When asked if he was prepared to face disciplinary action by the party for dissenting, he said he had every right to voice out.

"It is up to them (to take action). It is our right to speak up. The party does not advise us to be blind followers," he said.

He said that differing views should instead be welcomed as it shows that Umno also has parties within itself who are able to provide different outlooks.

Muhyiddin, together with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and four other Barisan veterans called a press conference to condemn the arrests of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang under the new anti-terrorism law.

Khairuddin, who is former Batuk Kawan Umno vice-chief, and his lawyer Chang, was charged Monday at the Kuala Lumpur magistrate's court over "sabotage of the country's banking and financial systems".

The other four Barisan leaders at the press conference were former cabinet ministers Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.