GEORGE TOWN: Dr Mahathir Mohamad claims that the much hyped-up press conference held last Sunday to announce the defections of several PKR elected representatives in Selangor to Barisan Nasional (BN), was a total failure when the plan fell through and Prime Minister Najib Razak was left to announce the defection of only one individual.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said Najib, who is BN chairman and Umno president, was left to announce that only the former Selangor menteri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib had rejoined Umno at the Sept 17 press event.
“Najib’s hope was to get PKR representatives to jump to Umno with Mat Tyson, but they did not turn up. And Selangor continues to be under PKR and PH,” the 92-year old former prime minister claimed.
Rumours had spread on social media after the press conference that Muhammad was to have brought eight PKR assemblymen along with him when he left the opposition coalition to rejoin Umno. However, the plan did not materialise.
Mahathir also took a swipe at Muhammad, popularly known as Mat Taib and Mat Tyson, for switching back to Umno after stints with PAS and PKR, calling him a person of “keturunan katak” (frog lineage).
Muhammad, 72, joined PAS in April 2013 after being an Umno member for almost 50 years. He later moved to PKR in Sept 2015, saying he hoped a strong government would be formed as an alternative to BN.
He later claimed that his time with the opposition parties had been “a waste ” and that he felt PH had forgotten about the Malay struggle.
While with Umno, Muhammad served as Selangor menteri besar from 1986 to 1997, and rural and regional development minister from March 2008 to April 2009.
“This Mat Tyson is from a lineage of frogs. He is good at jumping, jumping from Umno to PAS, then jumping to PKR,” Mahathir told a 3,000-strong crowd at a Penang DAP fundraiser here last night.
“And then he jumped back to live under the shell of Umno,” he added, alluding to the prospect of the politician being offered an inducement to return.
Mahathir also alleged that gerrymandering was taking place across the country, mostly to split voters along racial lines prior to the upcoming 14th general election (GE14).
“The boundaries of our constituencies have been divided between the Malays and the Chinese, because the Chinese will never support Najib,” he said.
“He wants to separate the Malays in the hope that they will support him. But believe me, the Malays will not support him,” Mahathir claimed.
He said he had felt a tangible change of support from the Malays towards PH when he spoke at a rally in Selama, Perak on Sept 22 in which the majority of the nearly 8,000 people who attended the talk, were Malays.
“I know this because I am on the ground almost every day. In Selama, all of them were Malays and what was strange was that they were Umno and PAS members,” he said.
“But these people do not want to be seen, so they watch me from afar and in the dark. They are afraid Najib will see them in the light.
“You know, they will be served notices telling them not to attend (opposition events),” Mahathir alleged.