PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Khairy Jamaluddin and other Barisan Nasional leaders should have spoken up earlier if they had a problem with his leadership.
"As far as I'm concerned, I've always practised an open leadership style," Najib told the Malay Mail.
"People were free to voice their comments, even differences of opinion. I’m quite open about it, except that I wanted it to be done in private, because we should not attack each other as members of the government," added Najib.
The Pekan MP said that Khairy was free to voice his dissatisfaction or concern to him.
"Khairy was free to come and see me. Then I could then decide, whether to accept or not to accept.He didn’t do that. I mean, he admitted that he didn’t do that," he said.
Khairy had earlier told Channel News Asia that Umno had been decimated during the general elections because it had become so detached from reality and thought it was invincible.
Khairy said that Umno members were "delusional" and "drunk on our own Kool-Aid".
He also admitted that he regretted not telling Najib that the grassroots had rejected them.
Najib did not mention names, but seemed to indirectly allude to former Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who were both punished after they had spoken out in public against Najib’s handling of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy.
“He (Khairy) should realise that I’m not going to dictate against anyone with difference of opinion. I only want party discipline, and those who were disciplined by the party, it was because they broke party discipline,” he said.
Najib told the portal that he never forced his ideals on any Barisan members.
"If you attack the leadership openly, that’s against party discipline.
"But if you come and say: ‘Sir, I disagree with you. I think you should do it this way.’ That is not against party discipline," he said.
Najib has since resigned as president of Umno and chairman of BN. His duties have been taken over by his former deputy, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.