Mahathir admits bid to topple Najib as Malaysia PM

Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures as he answers questions during an international conference in Tokyo on June 6.
Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures as he answers questions during an international conference in Tokyo on June 6.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/Asia News Network) - Former Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad admitted at the High Court on Friday (July 14) that he has been trying to topple Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Questioned by lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos if he has been attempting to topple Najib since 2014, the former premier replied: "Yes, indeed."

To a question on whether his actions were meant to discredit Umno, Dr Mahathir said he did not want to discredit the party but Najib.

On whether his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was competing with Umno, he claimed that the current Umno was not like the previous Umno, but had become Parti Najib.

Dr Mahathir, 92, was testifying in the trial of his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, who was former Kedah mentri besar, against Datuk Seri Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, who is Najib's press secretary, over two allegedly libellous media statements against him in April last year.

In his witness statement, Dr Mahathir, who is Pribumi chairman, said he never tried at any time to conspire with anyone, including Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to promote Mukhriz or his other children in their political career or for the prime minister's post.

Earlier, Mukhriz testified that his father Dr Mahathir had agreed with his decision to contest the Umno vice-president post.

Responding to a question by Jahaberdeen whether Mukhriz discussed the matter with Najib, Mukhriz replied, "He did not encourage as he said I was suitable to contest the Umno supreme council post."

"My decision to contest for the vice-president post in 2013 was because I wanted to prove to the rakyat and Umno members that democracy was alive and flourishing," he said.

In his lawsuit, Mukhriz claimed he had given notice through a media statement on April 21 asking Tengku Sarifuddin to retract his statements or risk legal action.

He claimed that the statements implied that he was directly involved with Muhyiddin and his father Dr Mahathir in a bid to topple the Government.

The hearing continues on Sept 21 with Tengku Sarifuddin, who is the defendant, expected to give his testimony.