KUALA LUMPUR — July 14, 2017: Former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad today confirmed in court that had had been trying to topple sitting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razakl since 2014 but didn’ think this would destroy Umno.
He also maintained that Najib had brought disrepute to the country’s dominant political party.
Mahathir, 92, who is chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, was testifying in response to a question from counsel Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos in the hearing of the defamation suit filed by his son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz, against Datuk Seri Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, press secretary to Najib.
Mahathir, the second witness for Mukhriz, admitted that his new party is in opposition to Umno.
The former Umno president also said that one of the three party vice-presidents can be appointed by the party president as the deputy prime minister. Mahathir himself had appointed Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was then a vice-president, as his deputy in government to succeed the sacked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Mukhriz, when asked about contesting for the post of Umno vice-president and the interpretation by party members that he had the intention to become prime minister, said: “Although it is a stepping stone, there is no guarantee one can be the prime minister.
“I think Umno members are aware that contesting a post of vice-president is no guarantee to be the prime minister,” he said.
Mukhriz also told the court that his father had never encouraged him to be active in politics but he had his own reasons for doing so.
Mukhriz, who was represented by counsel Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, filed the suit on May 3, 2016, claiming that Sarifuddin had issued two defamatory statements against him in April of that year.
He claimed that the statements implied that Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had conspired in a malicious campaign to topple an legally elected government and that the plaintiff was still involved directly in the plot by Mahathir and Muhyiddin.
The next hearing has been set for October 19 and 20. — Bernama