Mahathir is worried that Najib may come back as PM

(The New Sarawak) – Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will want to become prime minister again if he is acquitted next week of corruption and money-laundering charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“If he (Najib) is found not guilty, I think that he will want to be prime minister again.

“If he loses in court, then, of course, he will be disqualified,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying by The Malaysian Insight today.

He was responding to a question on whether Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be nominated as Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) prime minister candidate for the next general election.

There has been speculation that Muhyiddin may call for a snap election this year as he wants to get the mandate from the people.

However, Dr Mahathir said Bersatu, which is now under the control of Muhyiddin, will face internal opposition from its PN coalition partner Umno.

“Generally speaking, Umno members feel that Umno should lead as they have the support. In fact, they have told Bersatu that although they are in a coalition now, they want to contest against Bersatu in the next election.

“Umno believes it will be the biggest party in the coalition and it wants to hold the reins of power,” said Mahathir, who was once the Umno president.

BN currently has the highest number of MPs within the PN coalition, with 42 MPs followed by Bersatu with 31, PAS with 18 and GPS with 18.

Bersatu also recently sacked Sri Gading MP Shahruddin Salleh from the party for sitting with the opposition block in the Dewan Rakyat.

This means it only has six MPs left, who won under the Pakatan Harapan banner back in 2018, while the other 15 are former Umno MPs who jumped to the party after the 14th general election, while another 10 are former PKR lawmakers who defected from PKR to form the PN government.

Mahathir said Muhyiddin’s position as prime minister is insecure as PN only has the support of 113 out of the 222 MPs, as shown in the Dewan Rakyat last week.

“As such, he is trying to stay in power by using methods which are not very democratic. This includes applying pressure on his own party to support him and even using money to induce people to support him.

“But we feel we should go back to the original decision of the people, that is to say. Pakatan Harapan is the choice of the people.

“So we feel that, having been supported by the people, we should retain that support by getting back the position of government,” Mahathir said.

He said he had told Muhyiddin that he was not prepared to work with “kleptocrats from Umno” but the latter was willing to do so, which is how he became their leader.

“In the first place, there was no (PN) coalition. There was talk, led by Muhyiddin that there is Perikatan.

“But it has never been registered. It has no office. It’s something only in the minds of some people. Muhyiddin gives the impression there is a coalition.

“I told him that if he joined them, he would be working with kleptocrats from Umno, I’m not prepared to do that.

“And I cannot accept Umno en bloc, but Muhyiddin said he was prepared to work with Najib. And that’s how he became their leader and eventually prime minister,” Mahathir said.

“I will never work with this group because of the presence of Najib,” he added.