‘I can be PM too’, PPP chief says after Dr M attack on Najib

Tan Sri Dr M. Kayveas (middle) cutting a cake commemorating PPP's 62nd anniversary. ― Picture by Shaun Tan
Tan Sri Dr M. Kayveas (middle) cutting a cake commemorating PPP's 62nd anniversary. ― Picture by Shaun Tan

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Tan Sri Dr M. Kayveas joined other Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders today, voicing the PPP’s support of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s leadership in the wake of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stinging attack against the prime minister.

The PPP president castigated the 89-year-old for his suggestion to the BN coalition to replace Najib, saying Dr Mahathir is a person who is never satisfied about anything.

“We cannot keep changing leaders. There is no guarantee that anything will be better,” Kayveas told a news conference after launching PPP’s 62nd anniversary party here.

He had been asked to respond to Dr Mahathir’s warning that the ruling BN coalition may lose power at the next general elections due in 2018 unless there was a leadership change.

He pointed out that Dr Mahathir had chosen Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as his successor after stepping down as prime minister in 2003, but then complained the latter was “no good” and pushed for Najib to take over.

“If he replaces him with Muhyhiddin, after a while he will say he is no good and replace him too,” the BN component party leader said.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s name has been among several floated as possible candidates to take over from Najib.

“One day maybe he will replace him with Mukhriz. What will he say then? That he’s no good?” Kayveas asked, referring to Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir who is also Dr Mahathir’s son.

“If you want to change PM, I can be prime minister,” he added.

Kayveas lashed out at Dr Mahathir and banded the elder Umno politicians with the opposition for their “speculation comments”, which he claimed was damaging to the country.

“We love Tun Mahathir very much.  But if you say something that’s gonna hurt all of us, then we have to wake up,” he said.

He further defended Najib against Dr Mahathir’s questions surrounding the allegations on the debt-laden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the Altantuya murder scandals.

“I think, under the constraints he has, he did fine. No answer is going to satisfy critics,” Kayveas said in reply to Malay Mail Onlines question on his views on Najib’s televised explanation last night to Dr Mahathir’s remarks.

He also accused the opposition of “using 1MDB as an excuse to derail the country,” and for “exploiting” former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar’s claim that he killed Altantuya “under orders.”

“Why don’t you look at the good things?” Kayveas said, referring to Pakatan Rakyat opposition lawmakers who have been highlighting the two issues in firing salvos against the Najib administration.

“Why do you pick up on one or two issues and then make a big time bomb over it?”

He also accused the opposition of being ungrateful.

“All the opposition now, which hospitals were they born in? Which schools did they go to? What scholarships did they get? How did they get to where they are now? They enjoyed all these things because of Barisan Nasional. The country isn’t bad, these critics are bad,” Kayveas said.

Batting for Najib, Kayveas said the country’s sixth prime minister should be allowed to complete his tenure in office.

“People on the ground are happy with Najib. Eight million people who received BR1M, including my mother, are so happy,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has made several posts on his blog chedet demanding answers on the issue of the 1MDB fund, as well as the issue of the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

On March 13, Dr Mahathir warned BN that it risked losing votes in the next general election if Putrajaya fails to adequately answer the numerous allegations levelled against 1MDB.

He urged Putrajaya to initiate a forensic audit on the state-owned firm, in addition to the Auditor General’s scrutiny of its accounts, in order to provide satisfactory explanations to the allegations surrounding 1MDB.

On April 2, Dr Mahathir insisted that police must investigate former commando Sirul Azhar Umar’s claim that he killed the Mongolian under orders, while expressing disappointment over Putrajaya’s attempts to fend off allegations surrounding the heavily indebted state investment firm.

Last night, Najib held a press conference in an attempt to answer these allegations.

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