KUALA LUMPUR, April 30, 2015:

Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said he would never criticise the nation’s leaders due to his loyalty to the party.

Alluding to the recent string of criticisms by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad towards the current leadership, Shahrir said that if one “truly loves the party”, he would not have stated that he made a mistake by resigning as the Prime Minister.

“I believe that those are his (Dr Mahathir’s) own views.

“As the BNBBC chairman and also a parliamentarian, our role is to take care of the party, uphold Parliament as an institution and support the Prime Minister,” he said on last night’s Soal Jawabprogramme on TV3 that touched on issues brought up by Dr Mahathir against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Shahrir gave an example of his loyalty when facing the Tanjung Puteri by-election in 1988 when Umno was split into two camps.

The veteran politician said as Johor Baru Member of Parliament and also the Umno division chief, he was made the election director in that year.

“At that time, Dr Mahathir led Camp A and I belonged to Camp B, led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. I still fully supported the candidate from the former camp as the party comes first.”

Shahrir maintained that he was a person who always believed in Umno’s positive values of loyalty and to serve, adding that whatever happens one must not destroy the party.

On Dr Mahathir’s strong criticisms, Shahrir said that the former statesman’s views were only seen as a “third force”.

He said that Dr Mahathir was not in Parliament and neither did he hold any party posts or was in government to understand what the current administration was going through.

Earlier, Shahrir also touched on Najib’s leadership and said certain people would never be satisfied with answers given by the Prime Minister as they had already formed their own judgement on the issues.

“We can’t do much as the government cannot please everybody. And more so when they have already formed their own judgement on the issue,” he said, giving an example of how negative some people can be when criticising the current leadership.

Shahrir believed that Najib would not budge on his policies, especially the economic policies, as he still commanded the support from the majority of BN parliamentarians.

In his opening comments, Shahrir also touched on the “crooked bridge” issue in Johor Baru, which was among the main issues for Dr Mahathir’s criticisms against Najib.

“As a Johor Baru resident and also the constituency’s representative, I support the aspirations of the local community there on the issue of the crooked bridge.

“For me, if the federal government were to build the bridge linking Johor Baru and Singapore, then it should be nice and useful for the benefit of the local folk.”

Shahrir,who is also the Iskandar Malaysia adviser, said the government should let the Johor Baru people decide on how they want the “crooked bridge”.

He said the decision to do so should not only be from Putrajaya as the development will impact the local residents more.

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