Ex-minister questions Najib's motive in bringing up an old issue.
PETALING JAYA: Former cabinet minister Zainuddin Maidin has questioned Prime Minister Najib’s motive in publicly belittling Shafie Apdal, the former Umno vice-president who now leads Parti Warisan Sabah.
Referring to a speech Najib recently made in Sandakan, Zainuddin, also known as Zam, said the prime minister spoke as if it was wrong for a politician to be ambitious.
Najib told his audience Shafie quit Umno after failing in his request to be made chief minister of Sabah. He didn’t mention Shafie by name, but he made it obvious whom he was referring to.
Zainuddin said he had heard about Shafie making the request. “It’s an old story,” he told FMT.
He said Najib’s motive was questionable because the matter was settled when Shafie stopped pursuing it for fear of creating a political conflict in Sabah.
“I don’t know why he exposed Shafie’s ambition to the public,” he said. “Was it meant to get the people of Sabah angry? Or was it just to paint Shafie in a negative light, as if he is someone who will disturb Sabah’s political stability?
“But Shafie must have a bigger ambition now because he has a good relationship with the public in general and with the people of Sabah in particular.
“It’s not a problem even if he wants to become the prime minister. What’s wrong with that? Everyone is allowed to have a big ambition.”
Zainuddin said all former Umno leaders who had gone on to form their own political outfits or to join established opposition parties had done so in an effort to bring “something new” to Malaysia.
“At this stage, their goal is not to become the prime minister. Their priority is to take down Najib.”
Shafie quit Umno last year, after his membership was suspended because he spoke up against the party leadership’s alleged wrongdoings.