KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is currently facing corruption charges in court has denied showing court documents in a February meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was the prime minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman then.
In a post on his official Facebook page, Zahid sought to clear the air by asserting that he as the “party president” of Umno had instead carried statutory declarations (SDs) with him during the meeting of political leaders.
Referring to a photo that is now viral in social media, Zahid claimed that the photo was of a meeting where the presidents of political parties were proposing for Dr Mahathir to create a “Unity Government” without Pakatan Harapan parties DAP, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led PKR and Parti Amanah Negara, asserting: “That is the common point of agreement to start talks.”
“But support was retracted when Tun M on Tuesday proposed a Unity Government of all parties that breached the earlier agreement,” Zahid wrote on Facebook yesterday, referring to incidents in February.
As for Zahid himself, he dismissed the allegations about him carrying court documents, questioning if it would be possible for personal matters to be discussed in such a big gathering when the main issue at hand was the change of government.
“Party president who attended carried SD and not court documents as written by several individuals. I attended carrying the mandate of the members and leadership of Umno, nothing more than that,” he said of the meeting shown in the photo.
The photo had showed Dr Mahathir together with Umno’s Zahid, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Parti Warisan Sabah president 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.
On Saturday, Dr Mahathir’s former press officer Adam Mukhriz Mohd Muhayeedin was reported confirming in a Facebook post that the photograph was taken on February 23 after the PPBM supreme council met and agreed to give Dr Mahathir one week to decide on the party's direction.
Among other things, Adam Mukhriz had claimed that Zahid had brought some documents to show Dr Mahathir to allegedly show he was not guilty and that Dr Mahathir had instead allegedly asked Zahid to show the documents to the court to let the court decide.
Adam had also claimed that Dr Mahathir had in the meeting said there that there was no need to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and that he did not want to join the political leaders' meeting at Sheraton Petaling Jaya that night.
On the night of February 23 (Sunday), Azmin, who was then PKR deputy president, and several other MPs from PKR were seen gathering at Sheraton Petaling Jaya before being joined by several party leaders including Muhyiddin, PH political foes' leaders such as Abdul Hadi and Ahmad Zahid.
The February 23 later became known as the “Sheraton Move” which was seen as a symbol for the week-long political crisis that followed, with the PH federal government later collapsing the next day when Azmin and 10 other MPs under his faction parted ways with PKR and after PPBM pulled out of the coalition.
After the February political crisis, Muhyiddin is now the prime minister under the Perikatan Nasional coalition composed of PPBM, Umno, MCA, MIC, PAS along with partner Gabungan Parti Sarawak, while Dr Mahathir has chosen to be in the federal opposition along Parti Warisan Sabah and PH's remaining parties DAP, PKR, Parti Amanah Negara.