SHAH ALAM – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not be able to cause a split between him and his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Najib, who is also Umno president, said this was because the Pakatan Harapan chairman failed to understand that he and Zahid were close and had gone through “thick and thin” together since 1986.
“Zahid and I had been together a long time. We had went through thick and thin together.
“I had even fought for Zahid at his division, when he was challenged by his then Bagan Datuk Umno division chief.
Najid said as the Umno Youth chief then, he went to Bagan Datuk and gave a fiery speech defending Zahid.
“Later, he won (that year’s division election) with 11 votes. This had led Zahid’s division chief to complain to Tun Ghafar Baba, saying that it was because of the ‘useless’ Youth chief’s speech.”
“But I don’t care, because Zahid is my brother in Umno,” he told party delegates and members at the launch of Shah Alam Umno division delegates meeting, here today.
Najib said because of this, he would never believed the accusation that Zahid had met with Dr Mahathir to topple him.
He later claimed that Dr Mahathir, when in power, had used the now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) against Zahid, who was the Umno Youth chief then, to force him to relinquish his post in the party.
“He (Dr Mahathir) then sent two Special Branch officers to see Zahid, and told him to sign a resignation letter if he want to cut short the detention period.
“Can you imagine, he forced Zahid, who was elected by delegates, to resign.
“But, when he thought everything was over, the officers returned the next day. This time, they told him to sign another letter that said he had relinquished his post willingly and without any pressure.
“This was akin to holding a gun to his head. So, when Zahid was accused of meeting Dr Mahathir after he was appointed as the DPM to topple me…impossible. I have full confidence in my deputy,” said Najib.
In his speech earlier, Najib also chided Dr Mahathir, who helmed Umno for 22 years, for trying to destroy the party.
He said even if Dr Mahathir has issues with him, the latter should not betrayed the party’s struggle.
He said while having differences was normal, Dr Mahathir seemed to have problems with everyone in Umno since Tunku Abdul Rahman’s time.
This, Najib added, even included Tun Hussein Onn who had appointed Dr Mahathir as prime minister.
“Since that time, he had issues with Tunku. Even Tun Hussein, who had appointed him as PM, he spoke ill behind their back.
“Who else? Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah), Musa (Tun Musa Hitam), Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), Tun Ghafar (Baba) who he set aside just like that…
“Only Tun Razak he did not have the chance to, he waited for Tun Razak’s son.
“There’s so many people he had issues with, were all of them wrong? So he was the only one who is right?” -NST