KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has claimed that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin harboured an ulterior motive when he was collecting support to replace Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.
In a statement today, Zahid said Muhyiddin wished to become a prime minister in order to use the position to strengthen Bersatu and at the same time weaken Umno by “stealing” and allegedly “buying off” the latter party’s members.
“He claimed that I wanted to support him to be the prime minister to replace Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who resigned and then he took over as prime minister,” Zahid said.
“But he did not say how his proxies worked hard to persuade non-Pakatan Harapan (PH) elected representatives, including from Umno, to support him as prime minister.
“[Muhyiddin] promised an honest and sincere unity in the name of Malays and Islam, but apparently there is ‘udang di sebalik batu’ behind having the power as prime minister,” he added, using the Malay idiom that means having ulterior motives.
Muhyiddin had during campaigning for Perikatan Nasional in the Johor state election said he never intended to become prime minister but was instead given support by Zahid and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
“Maybe that’s why he is so angry with me, the leadership and grassroots members of Umno for being able to smell his tricks and act.
“Let’s think for a moment whether someone who admits that he never aspired to be the prime minister will try to ‘bribe’ a Member of Parliament openly on the television to support him to remain as the prime minister out of desperation?” Zahid said, referring to Muhyiddin’s vows when it was apparent he had lost the support of the majority.
“Does someone who does not aspire to be the prime minister in his last words to the officials in Putrajaya that he would come back as prime minister?
“Would someone who never wanted to be prime minister mention in his political speeches during Johor election campaign the possibility of him becoming prime minister again?” he asked.
He also called the bluff on Muhyiddin’s claim that Bersatu only left PH because former ally DAP allegedly did not support its policies and the Malay-Muslim privileges in the country.