PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has once again made an appeal to the people of Pekan to vote out Prime Minister Najib Razak in the next general election (GE14).
He called for voters in the Pahang town where Najib has served as an MP for nine consecutive terms, to “save the nation” by helping to remove the prime minister from office.
This would not be the first time that the former prime minister has made such an appeal.
In October 2015, while still in Umno, Mahathir told a high-tea event organised by an Umno branch in Kuala Lumpur that he wanted voters in Pekan to give priority to national issues and vote wisely, rejecting the cash inducements that Najib was likely to give them to obtain their votes.
In the undated video sighted by FMT, Mahathir, 91, was seen telling the people of Pekan that they represented the “struggle” of the nation and the Malay race to bring down Najib, who has led Malaysia since March 2009.
“I am of the opinion that Pekan is one of the most important constituencies in GE14.
“The residents and voters of Pekan have the opportunity to save the nation by causing the defeat of Datuk Seri Najib,” he said.
“When the time comes, do not at all support Datuk Seri Najib or vote for him in the general election to come.”
He called on the voters to instead give their backing for parties opposed to Najib and which were engaged in the cause to end his rule.
Mahathir said Najib, who is also the finance minister, was accused of undertaking policies that would bring harm to the country.
He said Najib’s father, Abdul Razak Hussein, who served as the second prime minister from 1970 to 1976, was his icon.
Razak had supported Mahathir, bringing the suspended Umno member back into the fold, and eventually paved the way for the Kedahan to become the fourth prime minister from 1981 to 2003.
“With that I also supported Datuk Seri Najib so that he could also become prime minister,” Mahathir said.
“But after he became the prime minister his conduct and actions have been very different from those of his father.”
He said Najib had lost “billions” of Malaysia’s money that cannot be traced now.
“We have found that RM2.6 billion was placed in his personal account and it has since been removed,” he added.
He said he was saddened by such actions.
“I tried to advise him but he did not listen to the advice,” Mahathir said, adding that Najib behaved as though he could buy anything with money, including support for himself in the elections.
In a speech in Balik Pulau, Penang last February, Mahathir offered an “apology to everyone” for being responsible for Najib’s rise to power.
Najib has held Pekan since winning a by-election there at the age of 23 in 1976, with the exception of a term between the general elections of 1982 and 1986 when he became the Pahang menteri besar after winning the Bandar Pekan state seat.
The Pekan parliamentary seat was previously held by Razak from 1959 till his death in 1976.
It is widely understood that Mahathir, who was brought into the Cabinet by Razak in 1974, was instrumental in the selection of Najib to run for the Pekan seat and later to become a deputy minister at the age of 25 in 1978 and Pahang’s menteri besar in 1982.