After ousting Pak Lah, Mahathir now turns to Najib?

(Harakah Daily) – Prime Minister Najib Razak is increasingly feeling the pressure once heaped on his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, following a spate of statements coming from former strongman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

WHO’S THE STRONGEST OF THEM ALL? … After pressuring Abdullah (middle) to resign, Mahathir is said to be planning Najib’s retirement

This is the observation made by PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar, who said such a reality could be seen following Mahathir’s recent statement telling Najib not to hold general election earlier.

Mahathir had claimed that an early election would not be beneficial to Barisan Nasional as more time was needed to finalise BN’s candidates based on the new “winnable candidates” criterion.

The former prime minister, who played an influential role in the resignation of Abdullah before and after the March 2008 general election, warned Najib that some leaders would sabotage the candidates whom they thought were not qualified.

“It has been common practice for someone who does not get selected as a candidate to go out of their way to prove the other person who is selected is not qualified.

“This problem is hard to overcome. There is still a problem,” Mahathir was quoted as saying.

For Mahfuz, the comments laid bare internal problems within UMNO and BN.

“I don’t deny that he is again trying to replay his role to give pressure to the current prime minister, which happened during Pak Lah’s time. Mahathir’s advice for BN to delay (the election) so that it could go through the candidates list to ensure a BN victory highlights his focus on Najib’s position as the BN chief,” said the Mahfuz.

Mahfuz (left) said Mahathir was being widely seen as the mastermind behind a plan to oust Najib before the general election.

“In fact, it is not impossible that some of them will follow Mahathir’s orders. Mahathir will just give pressure and ensure Najib goes out before the election, and he is seen as the mastermind in this effort.

“I am sure that what he has voiced out will have takers from among UMNO and BN,” he added.

According to Mahfuz, Mahathir was suggesting that in order to ensure a victory for BN, its chairman (Najib) must be replaced by someone who members could regard as a leader.