KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Continuing his verbal war with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed today that those who have expressed support for the prime minister amid growing calls for him to quit may have been bribed to do so.
The country’s longest serving prime minister’s assertion followed Najib’s sarcastic remark that he was “not alone”, which was apparently said in response to Dr Mahathir’s persistent attacks towards his leadership in recent months.
Today, Dr Mahathir suggested Najib was delusional by thinking he has genuine support from Umno leaders and party grassroots, alleging further that the show of confidence towards the Najib administration was only a staged political gimmick.
“They say ‘I support PM’. When there is an event they sing the IM4U song, but is that real support?
“They can be paid to say those things.
“They may say it because they are afraid to lose their allowances or lose their positions.
“We will never know.
“But even so, he says ‘I am not alone’,” the former prime minister told a packed townhall meeting held here.
The former Umno president slammed Najib further by saying if a prime minister cannot read politics and differentiate genuine or fake support, he is then not fit to lead.
“If he does not even understand this, then, how can he lead?”
Two days ago Najib told a conference full of investors at Invest Malaysia 2015 in the city that he was not alone as investors and businesses have supposedly expressed confidence in his leadership.
“There has been some talk lately in Malaysia about how it can be lonely telling the truth,” said Najib at the event in the capital this morning.
“I can tell you that I don’t feel lonely standing here today.
The remark was apparently aimed at Dr Mahathir who lamented that he was alone in speaking up against Najib’s inefficacy after his calls for the prime minister to step down was met with statements of support from Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders.
But Dr Mahathir and other veteran and respected Umno leaders like Tun Daim Zainuddin and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib have laughed off the display of support received by Najib, saying they were likely pretentious and done out of self-interests.
Observers have noted that the same kind of support was shown when Dr Mahathir began attacking the Abdullah administration but Umno leaders later on turned against their president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and supported the latter’s ouster.
Analysts have also pointed out that Dr Mahathir could still break Najib from outside of Umno as the former prime minister is still highly influential among voters and party grassroots.
Dr Mahathir had openly called for Najib to step down citing disappointment with a slew of scandals plaguing the current administration.