Dr Mahathir Mohamad has responded to the speculation that he is once again working backstage to bring the curtain down on another political career – that of his protege Najib Tun Razak. The former premier complained about a FMT report which portrayed him as being the force behind the alleged move to replace Najib with current number two Muhyiddin Yassin.
Mahathir also congratulated those who had expertly used psychological tactics to “destroy” Umno and sow suspicion among party leaders and members.
The former Umno president said that efforts were underway to weaken the ruling party ahead of the next general election.
Last week, FMT reported that Penawar, an organisation comprising former Umno MPs, had voiced disatisfaction over Najib’s leadership and wanted him to step down.
The next day, Penawar’s head, Aziz Shamsuddin, a former political secretary to Mahathir, had denied the report, despite refusing to comment the day before.
‘Najib may be suspicious of Muyiddin and me’
Mahathir, credited with playing a key role in ousting former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and prior to that, ending the careers of three deputy prime ministers during his 22 year reign, said the FMT report may now led Najib to doubt Muhyiddin and him.
He warned that if Najib suspected Muhyiddin, Umno would crack, with some backing the president and others throwing their weight behind Muhyiddin.
“The strategy was to claim that Penawar held its meeting to undermine Najib and that Muhyiddin and myself are the hidden hands. Of course, Najib would become suspicious of us and Penawar.
“The report also spooked Penawar and other NGOs that Najib would be suspicious of their meetings and expose them to the accusation that they were Mahathir’s people,” he added in a blog posting.
Mahathir said such reports would make the Malays afraid of politicking and the opposition would achieve its aim of seeing the race becoming disunited and not being able to defend its rights.
‘Malay or Malaysian first’
The former premier also noted that a reporter had recently asked Najib if he was a Malay or Malaysian first, landing the latter in a spot.
Mahathir alleged that the question was deliberately posed to put Najib in a dilemma.
“If he had answered that he was more Malay, then he would be called a racist just like how Muhyiddin and myself were accused. And if he had said ‘Malaysian’, then he would be seen as not sharing the view of his deputy,” he said.
“Najib replied that he did not want to be seen as not being on the same page with his deputy, and this indirectly meant that he was more Malaysian unlike Muhyiddin. Surely, this would strain ties between the two Umno leaders,” he added.
According to Mahathir, the same question must be posed to all Malaysians as well as politicians and NGO leaders.
Commenting on him being labelled as an ultra Malay, the former premier asked if only the Malays had benefitted from all the development and reaped the riches during his tenure.