Lim Kit Siang says that if Najib fails in the next general election, then certain forces in Umno will replace him with a 'Malay first' prime minister.
PETALING JAYA: It is no secret that Muhyiddin Yassin harbours the ambition to replace Najib Tun Razak as Umno president and prime minister, according to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.
He said that Muhyiddin hoped to achieve this by appearing to be more Malay than Najib.
“Many within Umno are waiting to see Najib do worse than Pak Lah [Abdullah Ahmad Badawi] in the next general election so that they could boot him out and replace him with a ‘Malay first’ Umno prime minister,” he added in a statement.
It was under Abdullah’s watch that Umno and Barisan Nasional suffered its worst ever electoral outing in 2008 just four years after Abdullah secured the ruling coalition’s biggest ever mandate.
In the aftermath of the polls, daggers were drawn and Abdullah was forced to relinquish his post to Najib in 2009. And now history could repeat itself.
Meanwhile, Lim also recalled how Muhyiddin did not give Najib any support for his 1Malaysia slogan as exemplified by his statement in Parliament that he was Malay first and Malaysian second.
Speculation of a rift between Najib and Muhyiddin had been rife for months despite the two leaders claiming otherwise.
It was often said that Najib’s numerous initiatives to attract non-Malay voters had ruffled the feathers of the ultras in Umno, who viewed it as a concession in terms of Malay supremacy and this group had gravitated towards Muhyiddin.
When opening Perkasa’s inaugural annual general meeting in 2010, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that the sudden mushrooming of Malay non-governmental organisations reflected Umno’s weakness in defending the rights of the Malays.
He added that NGOs like Perkasa would cease to exist when Umno regained its strength to defend the rights of the Malays.
Over the months, there had been no shortage of conspiracy theories, linking the numerous scandals such as the National Feedlot Centre fiasco to Muhyiddin, who apparently had the backing of Mahathir.
Observers also find it difficult to dismiss talk that Muhyiddin was also behind the latest revelations involving former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan and carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan.
‘The best PM’
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BN leader said such rumours had been making the rounds although the general perception was that the opposition was behind these damaging episodes.
“There is no doubt that certain factions in Umno are unhappy with Najib but as far as the component parties are concerned, he is the best prime minister.
“I don’t think Pakatan Rakyat would be able to capture the government but if BN fails to perform better than in the 2008 election, then Najib’s position would be in trouble,” he added.
Recently, Anwar Ibrahim also claimed that Mahathir was persuading Umno leaders to remain patient until after the general election.
The opposition leader said he “knew for a fact” that Mahathir had been asking state leaders to lend their support to Umno and BN, suggesting that they could “topple the leader after the election”.
“This message has gone to almost all state leaders. I think that is why because of this fear, Najib feels that his personal position is rather insecure,” he had told a press conference.