KUALA LUMPUR: Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has denied claims by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Shukri Abdull that he was approached by him to ask Najib Razak to step down as prime minister in the wake of the 1MDB scandal.
“It is outside of my knowledge. No (meeting),” the former deputy prime minister told reporters after chairing the monthly Umno meeting at the party’s headquarters here today.
Zahid, who is Umno acting president, was asked to comment on the revelation by Shukri at a press conference today that the MACC had approached several ministers in Najib’s Cabinet to get them to act against the former prime minister over his alleged involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
Zahid deflected the question to Umno acting deputy president Hishammuddin Hussein, who answered, “No” and shook his head.
At a press conference earlier today, Shukri said that among all the ministers he approached then (in 2015 when he was MACC deputy chief commissioner of operations), only three, namely former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, former rural and regional development minister Mohd Shafie Apdal and former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had the courage to speak out against Najib on the matter.
Muhyiddin and Shafie were later booted out of the government while Husni resigned without completing his term of office.
Shukri added that he opted for early retirement in 2016 because he had failed to make headway in the 1MDB and SRC International cases where millions of ringgit were allegedly deposited into Najib’s personal banking accounts.
The opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition ended the six-decade rule of the country by the Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election on May 9 and has appointed Shukri to lead the MACC in its fight to combat corruption.
Meanwhile, on Umno elections, Zahid said all positions right up to the presidency would be open for contest at the next party elections.
This was decided by the Umno Supreme Council during its meeting today.
The Supreme Council, at a meeting last December, had decided that the top two positions, that of the president and the deputy president, should not be contested.
Zahid said this new decision today was made to ensure the people regained their confidence in the party following its poor performance in the May 9 general election.
He said the branch-level elections would be held from May 19 to June 10, the election for heads of Umno wings would be on June 23, while the election for Supreme Council seats will be on June 30.