KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has demanded that Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi prove the latter’s recent allegation in court, that the former had asked him to dissolve the Malay nationalist party.
On June 28, in defending himself in his corruption trial by labelling it a “politically motivated persecution”, Zahid said that he had privately met with Dr Mahathir sometime in June 2018 after the latter’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won the 14th general election.
Zahid, however, said that the meeting was initiated by two individuals who had relayed the message that Dr Mahathir allegedly wanted to meet him, and that it was only after the two individuals’ third attempt that he then met with Dr Mahathir.
The Star reported Dr Mahathir as asking Zahid to back up his claim with proof, in a press conference after meeting ferry operators in Langkawi.
“What evidence does he have (that I uttered) those remarks? I can speak about anything.
“Show proof that I said such things,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying.
In his trial in court, Zahid also said he had told Dr Mahathir that he did not want to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and he refused to dissolve Umno, adding that he said then he did not want Umno to be buried without a gravestone.
“I was not willing for Umno that has been trusted since 1946 to be buried just like that, I said I don’t want. If I joined Bersatu, if Umno was cancelled, then if it is fated that tomorrow I die, my grave would be flooded.
“He asked why would it be flooded, I said 3.8 million Umno members will all come to my grave and urinate on my grave. Because of that, I was not willing for Umno to be buried and to save myself by joining Bersatu,” Zahid added.
After the May 9, 2018 election, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on May 12 announced his resignation as Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, while Zahid, who was Umno vice-president but handled the duties of the deputy president, took over duties for both positions.
In this trial, Zahid — who is a former deputy prime minister and former home minister — is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.