PETALING JAYA • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has launched a broadside at a "marriage" pact between Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Umno, asking if the Islamist party is now willing to be bossed around by former prime minister Najib Razak.
"Najib and his followers refer to him as a 'boss' that does not need to feel shame. Boss means 'my lord'. Is PAS ready to be subservient to someone who is alleged to have committed theft? Had PAS no shame when it accepted Najib as their 'boss'?" questioned Tun Dr Mahathir.
Najib, who faces 42 counts of corruption and money laundering charges, has a new personal tag line these days, 'Malu apa, Bossku' (Nothing to be ashamed of, my boss).
Dr Mahathir, in his blog post on Wednesday, alleged that the political union was aimed at restoring Najib as a leader and to absolve him of the crimes he was accused of.
"Does PAS now see Najib, who is facing graft and power abuse charges, as innocent?" he asked.
Malaysia's two biggest Malay-Muslim opposition parties, the United Malays National Organisation and PAS, this week announced a formal pact to work together in by-elections and the next general election.
The pact could erode support of the Malay majority for Dr Mahathir's four-party ruling alliance, Pakatan Harapan (PH).
Najib and his followers refer to him as a 'boss' that does not need to feel shame. Boss means 'my lord'... Had PAS no shame when it accepted Najib as their 'boss'?
MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER MAHATHIR MOHAMAD, referring to former prime minister Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir also asked if PAS could accept corruption and power abuse as long it was done in the name of Islam and uniting the Malays.
"It is true that Najib has yet to be found guilty by the courts - but will PAS accept Najib as a PAS leader if he is found guilty?" he asked.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that the reputations of Umno and Najib had been tainted globally, and that many of its leaders had left the party.
At least half a dozen countries, including Singapore, are investigating the financial scandal linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad that was overseen by Najib.
The United States Department of Justice has alleged that US$4.5 billion (S$6.12 billion) was siphoned out of the fund by top Malaysian officials and their associates.
Dr Mahathir also took PAS to task for backtracking on its pledge to support him in the event of a no-confidence motion in Parliament and not to campaign alongside Barisan Nasional in the recently concluded Semenyih by-election in Selangor.
PAS leaders had in recent weeks said the party would support the Prime Minister in Parliament soon after PAS-controlled Terengganu state was paid RM643 million (S$214 million) by the Malaysian government as petroleum royalty.
"On nomination day (in Semenyih), many PAS leaders were seen together with Barisan leaders. Is this how PAS makes promises?" he asked.
Despite his scathing remarks about the PAS-Umno "marriage", Dr Mahathir said PH was not afraid of the formal cooperation between the two parties. "It will provide many opportunities to expose the lies of the two parties," he added.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, a top leader of the PH ruling alliance, on Wednesday called the Umno-PAS pact a "declaration of war on non-Malays", causing anger in Umno and PAS.
Mr Lim said he has "corrected" his comments to say that the pact is "targeting the non-Malays and non-Muslims".
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK