An emotional hug for outgoing Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from his successor Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

PETALING JAYA – Umno does not hold any bright prospect in the future as its legacy in serving the country has been erased, and it will be difficult for it to regain the trust of the people, former information minister Zainuddin Maidin claims.

He said this situation has come about because the party’s current leaders wanted to be greater than former prime minister and Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In his blog post today, Zainuddin, who is popularly known as Zam, questioned if any of the present leaders had the qualification and credibility in the eyes of the public to be the next prime minister after Najib Razak.

The former Umno supreme councillor also pointed to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, known as Pak Lah, as wanting to be “greater” than Mahathir.

He said Pak Lah had, in his tenure as the country’s fifth prime minister from 2003 to 2009, promised democratic freedoms of international standards for the people.

“On the advice of his son-in-law (Khairy Jamaluddin), he gave compensation amounting to millions of ringgit to judges punished by Dr Mahathir for standing in the way of the country’s policies,” he said.

When Najib took over from Pak Lah, he tried to become “even greater”, he said.

Zainuddin claimed that Najib wanted to be the “father of Malaysian democracy” by abolishing the Internal Security Act, drawing support from the opposition for the move.

He said when Pak Lah and Najib tried to become more renowned and revered than Mahathir, the people suffered.

He said they, in fact, lost the confidence of the people, something not seen under the rule of any previous prime minister since independence.

“They (the people) felt that the hope and trust placed in the nation’s leadership had been betrayed.”

Saying that the people had also lost faith in government-controlled media, he questioned how they could be made to regain their confidence in Umno.

“TV3 is not watched any more and the mainstream newspapers are also not able to sell.

“The people no longer believe in economic growth figures and stories about investments worth billions of ringgit.”

He said there was a lack of confidence due to the “ad hoc” manner in which the economy was being managed and about the country’s politics.

He said the Vision 2020 agenda conceptualised under Mahathir had been replaced by National Transformation 2050 (TN50) and Proton, once a pride of the people, was no longer a national car.

Describing these actions as betraying Mahathir, he said: “There have been many other economic and political failures that have eroded Umno’s legacy which Malays have until now proudly looked up to.”

He said the people considered Mahathir’s administration from 1981 to 2003 as the most respected and principled in history.

He said the former Umno president had solidified the institution of the royalty such that it became revered and did not interfere in the affairs of the people.

The country has been left with nostalgia for the “golden” era of Umno, which collapsed under its current leaders, he added.