KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he has instructed his lawyers to start defamation proceedings against caretaker prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin over the latter’s claim of demands for him to interfere in ongoing court cases.
The former prime minister said he was forced to take legal action as Muhyiddin has so far refused to substantiate the allegations or lodge a police report over the claims as challenged.
On Facebook, Najib said Umno has gone as far as preparing a police report on Muhyiddin’s behalf after the latter did not file a formal complaint over the allegations he made during a special address to the nation.
“As such, my lawyers have presented a defamation lawsuit as well as applied for the courts to take action against Muhyiddin and (Bersatu information chief) Wan Saiful Wan Jan for contempt,” he said.
Najib went on to mock Muhyiddin’s assertion today that he had to resign as the prime minister because he could not fend off power hungry groups, reminding the latter that he was part of the defectors who brought down the previous Pakatan Harapan administration.
Muhyddin has repeatedly accused unnamed politicians of pressuring him to intervene in their criminal trials, but has never directly named them.
Even without doing so, however, it was commonly inferred that the reference was to Najib and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the two were among those facing dozens of corruption, abuse and money laundering charges stemming from their time in power.
Today, Muhyiddin renewed the allegations in an address after his resignation, insisting that among reasons he had to step down was his refusal to work with “kleptocrats”.
“Kleptocrats” was a term made popular when Najib was still the prime minister and facing allegations from the 1MDB global corruption scandal.
“He (Muhyiddin) says the easy way for him to stay in power would be to conspire with ‘kleptocrats’ but he would not do so.
“But has he forgotten that the ‘kleptocrats’ were the same ones from whom he had sought a lifeline and raised him to be the PM last year?” Najib said.
Najib also rejected Muhyiddin’s claim that he had been sacked as the deputy prime minister in 2015 because he would not take part in the 1MDB scandal, which the latter brought up again today.
Instead, Najib said he dismissed Muhyiddin because the latter had allegedly plotted with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, since 2014 to remove Najib as the prime minister and president of Umno.
He insisted that the true reason why Muhyiddin resigned was the latter’s failure to govern the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to unnecessary deaths and the collapse of the local economy.
“Until now he refuses to admit that the main reason he had to go was his abysmal record. A world-class failure.”
Muhyddin resigned as the prime minister today after finally conceding that he no longer had majority support to remain in the position.
He has been appointed as the caretaker PM until a successor is appointed as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was of the view that it would not be safe to conduct a general election alongside the Covid-19 pandemic.