KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — A photograph depicting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seated together with political party leaders has been making waves and sparked debate on whether the former prime minister did really abandon Pakatan Harapan (PH).
The photo showed Dr Mahathir together with Umno’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, PAS’ Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Warisan’s Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) duo Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg and Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof in a meeting allegedly in his house.
In a Facebook posting, Dr Mahathir’s former press officer Adam Mukhriz Mohd Muhayeedin wrote to confirm the picture was taken on February 23 after a meeting of the PPBM Supreme Council, at which the party’s leaders had agreed to give Dr Mahathir a week to decide on the party’s direction.
“It was at this time that Zahid brought Tun some documents, as though to show that he was not guilty (of corruption charges)
“Tun Mahathir replied, ‘What are you showing this to me for? Give it to the court and let the court decide’,” he wrote today.
Adam added that, at that time, Dr Mahathir had also told the various party leaders that there was no need to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and that he did not want to join their meeting at Sheraton Petaling Jaya that night.
However, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that during the meeting Dr Mahathir actually wanted out of PH as he did not like DAP or wanted PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the prime minister.
“He doesn’t like DAP. He doesn’t like Anwar as a PM. He is not able to withstand the pressure of the DAP and Anwar’s gang against him, but he has to endure it because the DAP and PKR parliamentary seats are far behind him.
“PPBM (Bersatu) party wants to get out of PH as soon as possible for fear of losing in the next general election 15 after losing five times to BN. He also supports (that),” he wrote in his Facebook posting.
Najib also added that Dr Mahathir’s ploy to get support from other parties failed and that is why he is working hard to topple the current PN government.
In another leak, an audio clip surfaced online allegedly from the Bersatu Supreme Council meeting on February 23.
In the clip, posted by a Facebook page aligned to Dr Mahathir, a man whose voice resembles that of Muhyiddin is heard saying that Umno MPs can be enticed to join Bersatu if they are offered ministerships or GLC posts.
“If they know a new government is being formed, with Umno in, ‘Why don’t you (Umno MPs) join in now, why don’t you join us now, rather than you join later?’
“I think if we did that, a majority will leave Umno (with just) 10-20 (MPs), with just Najib (Abdul Razak) and his people (left behind).
“Especially if there are positions. If not a minister, then chairperson of a GLC,” the man said.
This was the third audio clip leaked from the February 23 Bersatu Supreme Council meeting in which the first leaked recording contained a man who sounded like Muhyiddin who is heard telling the council to entrust Dr Mahathir with the mandate to decide on whether or not to leave PH
The second recording has a man who sounds like Dr Mahathir pleading with the Bersatu Supreme Council not to force him to renege on his promise to step down as prime minister.
On the night of February 23, Azmin, who was then PKR deputy president, and 11 MPs from PKR were seen gathering at Sheraton Petaling Jaya before being joined by several party leaders including Muhyiddin, Abdul Hadi and Ahmad Zahid.
Dr Mahathir resigns as prime minister the next day before being appointed as the interim prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who proceeded to interview each of the MPs before declaring that Muhyiddin have the majority support a week later.
Muhyiddin was announced the prime minister on February 29 and proceeded to name a cabinet consisting of Umno, PAS, MCA, MIC and GPS on March 10.