Muhyiddin to Najib: Bersatu did not betray Umno in Sabah polls

“I am ashamed to be associated with a party that still lifts a man who has been found guilty by a court of a serious criminal offence as boss”

(NST) – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin denied allegations that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) had betrayed Umno in the Sabah state election, thus thwarting Muafakat Nasional (MN) progress.

The remarks come in the heel of former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Facebook posting accusing that Bersatu through Perikatan Nasional (PN), fielded candidates to fight Barisan Nasional (BN) in 17 State Assembly seats in the Sabah state polls last year.

However, Muhyiddin, who is also the Bersatu president questioned the allegation as during the Sabah polls there were no seats which saw a clash between Bersatu and Umno.

He claimed the seat-sharing committee between PN, BN and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), failed to reach an agreement when BN increased the number of seats it wanted to contest, causing clashes with PN in several seats.

Muhyiddin said the seats which saw a clash between PN and BN did not involve Bersatu and Umno, instead, it was between Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), PBS and BN.

“Seeing this situation, I went to Kota Kinabalu before nomination day to conduct last-minute talks to prevent clashes between the PN, BN and PBS parties.

“Unfortunately, this meeting failed to reach a consensus as each (party) insisted on fielding candidates in seats contested by other partner parties.

“Bersatu was the only party that did not field candidates in seats contested by partners in PN, BN and PBS, while PAS took the honourable step of not contesting in any seat,” he said in response through a Facebook posting.

Apart from accusing Bersatu of betraying Umno, Najib through the same Facebook post last Sunday also claimed that PN fielded Independent candidates in six state seats contested by BN in the Sabah state polls to split the votes.

The Pekan MP also claimed that BN sacrificed many seats to Bersatu as part of the negotiations to be given the Chief Minister’s post if BN won, but the opposite happened when Bersatu instead got the post.

Explaining the matter, Muhyiddin said he had asked Umno President, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to nominate an Umno candidate for the Sabah Chief Minister post but he did not do so until the Sabah election campaign ended.

In such a situation he nominated Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor as the Sabah Chief Ministerial candidate in the event PN garnered the largest number of seats among the parties that make up the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah coalition (GRS).

Muhyiddin said after PN garnered the most number of seats with 17 compared to BN (14 seats), PN nominated Hajiji as Chief Minister, which was later agreed by other GRS assemblymen, including from Umno.

“Am I a traitor? I am not a traitor. I told Umno to nominate a candidate. If Umno did not have a candidate, I have a candidate who wanted to be featured. I am transparent and honest (in dealings) with Umno.

“Datuk Seri Najib should not distort the facts. What happened in the Sabah state election is not the reason MN failed,” he said.

At the same time, Muhyiddin reminded Najib not to raise the issue of MN because Bersatu had decided not to join MN, while Umno has also decided not to cooperate with Bersatu at the party’s General Assembly.

He described the cease of cooperation between Bersatu and Umno as a blessing to his party because Bersatu is not plagued by moral problems which plague Umno leaders.

“I am ashamed to be associated with a party that still lifts a man who has been found guilty by a court of a serious criminal offence as boss,” he said acidly.