Zahid accuses Umno leader of plot to oust Najib

Malaysian DPM claims party leader working with opposition to overthrow government

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid.
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid. PHOTO: STAR PUBLICATIONS

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has accused an unnamed Umno party leader of working with the opposition to overthrow the government, amid rumours of groups seeking to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Citing "trusted sources", Datuk Seri Zahid yesterday claimed that lawyers were preparing a seven- page, yellow-paper memorandum with a statutory declaration for MPs to sign.

The documents would allow them to prove that they have the majority's support, he told delegates at an Umno Selangor division meeting.

"Something this serious will lead to a national political turmoil. They are not willing to wait for the next election and they are trying to use the back door," he charged, adding that he did not want to name the Umno leader, whose identity will be revealed "in due time".

"As the deputy prime minister, as vice-president of Umno, I will not allow this to happen," Mr Zahid said.


Something this serious will lead to a national political turmoil. They are not willing to wait for the next election and they are trying to use the back door.


His remarks come amid persistent talk of groups seeking to topple the administration of Datuk Seri Najib, who has been under pressure to resign over the troubles of state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and a US$700 million (S$983 million) donation in his bank accounts. Mr Zahid's claim thrust the spotlight once more on his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin, who was sacked as deputy prime minister last month.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin yesterday continued attacking 1MDB, whose chief adviser is Mr Najib, saying that the problems surrounding it had caused investors to lose confidence in Malaysia.

He added that if any wrongdoings are found by investigative agencies, the people responsible "must be brought to justice".

But he also reiterated earlier denials of an ouster plot, telling delegates at an Umno Sabah division meeting that such a suggestion was "stupid" because he had helped to build this government.

"I won't do what Anwar is doing... I'm not going to topple the government," he was quoted as saying, referring to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was Umno deputy president and deputy prime minister before he was sacked in 1998.

Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah yesterday also denied

any involvement to topple the government, after a recent news website report alleged that he had met former premier Mahathir Mohamad last week in a bid to remove Mr Najib.

While Tengku Razaleigh admitted to meeting Tun Dr Mahathir, he declined to divulge details and said that he still supports Mr Najib. But when asked by reporters if such a plot existed, he said: "Maybe there is, maybe there isn't."

Adding to the speculation, opposition MP Lim Kit Siang yesterday said that it was "no crime" to topple Mr Najib if a new majority of MPs feel that there should be a change of government.

The Prime Minister's setting up of a national panel on political funding on Friday, which followed the outcry over the donation he received, has also come under swift criticism from activists and the opposition.

They called on Mr Najib to reveal the donor and how much of the money was used at the 2013 General Election.

"It is ridiculous that you talk about (political funding reform) when you won't answer the questions asked about the donation," said opposition MP and Penang's Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 16, 2015, with the headline 'Zahid accuses Umno leader of plot to oust Najib'. Print Edition | Subscribe