PETALING JAYA: PKR has claimed that Prime Minister Najib Razak has started to panic as Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim look into teaming up politically to depose him after the duo had been enemies for almost two decades.
Its communications director Fahmi Fadzil said Najib’s statement last night in criticising former prime minister Mahathir’s apparent move to woo Anwar showed that he was becoming increasingly unnerved by the collaboration.
Saying that “politics is all about perception”, Fahmi said reports indicate that the cooperation between Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman and Anwar the PKR de facto leader were emerging and pointing to the opposition ranks becoming more organised.
“This has caused Najib to become panicky and desperate because his political survival is under duress,” Fahmi said in a statement today.
“The first evidence of this was his statement late last night,” he added.
Najib had said that Mahathir’s support for Anwar as prime minister was driven by his concern over the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the foreign exchange (forex) losses suffered by Bank Negara in the 1990s.
Pointing out that the losses had been incurred during Mahathir’s tenure as prime minister, Najib claimed that the PPBM chairman’s “latest U-turn” was not what it seemed.
“It comes after 20 years of Mahathir vilifying Anwar and using every possible means at his disposal to eliminate him from the political process, including arresting him under the now-repealed Internal Security Act, prosecuting and jailing him and a sustained campaign to attack his moral character.
“However, as Mahathir knows well, Anwar cannot legally contest, so this U-turn is not about the coming general election,” Najib said.
“Mahathir knows that the RCI findings could lead to criminal prosecution, so he cannot afford to have individuals highly relevant to the case, such as Anwar, testifying against him,” he added.
Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, fired Anwar as deputy prime minister and expelled him from Umno where he was deputy president in September 1998.
Fahmi said he had mentioned before that Putrajaya was in a state of panic after the US Department of Justice undertook lawsuits related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
“Last night we witnessed how the prime minister himself is now in a state of panic and desperation,” he added.
He said it was not surprising that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) had also last night announced that the DAP would have to hold a fresh election for its central executive committee (CEC) for the 2013-2016 term.
“The announcement had been envisaged by the prime minister’s secretary on July 3, when I had commented that his statement reflected on an ‘unseen hand’ that would influence the RoS on the issue,” he said.
Najib’s secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad had said that RoS did not recognise the validity of the CEC because of complaints lodged by DAP members against DAP leaders for conducting unfair and undemocratic party elections.
Fahmi also said Najib’s assertion that the RCI may bring about criminal prosecution suggested that action may be taken on the DAP to hinder the opposition in the 14th general election (GE14).
“But for many leaders who have been in the opposition for long, such political threats are part of the ‘salt of life’ in their struggle,” he said.
“It only demonstrates the panicky and desperate attitude in a regime that does not care about democracy and is only interested in its own group,” Fahmi added.