PUTRAJAYA - The bumiputra can only rely on themselves if they want to better their plight and not be sidelined in their own homeland, says Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said that Umno, the party that once safeguarded their rights, had abandoned them.
He said Umno leaders from 2003 onwards had strayed and enriched themselves at the expense of the bumiputra.
"Do not lie to ourselves. Calling ourselves 'masters' won't make us masters if we are still coolies to others.
"Malays today are confused, have lost their leadership and direction. Umno is no more - which party can they depend on? If not Bersatu, which party? PAS? That is not my choice," said Dr Mahathir in his officiating speech at the Bersatu second annual general meeting in the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here Saturday night (Dec 29).
Dr Mahathir handed over the premiership to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2003.
The premier also said that although Bersatu is part of the government, the party should not be arrogant.
"With success comes a heavy responsibility. We have to fulfil our promises in the manifesto when we campaigned," said Dr Mahathir.
He however said that the damage by the previous government was more severe than thought.
"Unfortunately, the people are already tired and are not interested in the wrongdoings of the old government anymore. They want to see the results of recovery by us.
"We have the capability, but if do not leverage on this, we will not succeed.
"Believe it, Malays can save themselves. Believe that only Malays can do so," said Dr Mahathir.
During the officiating ceremony, a sea of red covered the PICC hall here.
The Bersatu chairman took his place on stage along with party supreme council members, with more than 2,000 delegates and observers dressed in red Malay traditional costumes in attendance.
The three-day AGM will end on Sunday (Dec 30).