PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak says he only campaigned for Lokman Noor Adam in the recent Sungai Kandis by-election because the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate had asked him to do so.
Najib, who was formerly the BN chairman, said in a Facebook post that it was an uphill battle for BN as PKR had retained the Sungai Kandis seat in the 14th general election (GE14) earlier this year with a huge majority.
“I only helped Lokman Adam to fulfil his wish that I campaign for him in the Sungai Kandis by-election,” Najib said amid criticism from Umno leaders that he should not have been “front and centre” during the campaign for the by-election last week.
He said when he was the prime minister and Umno president, he had been the target of various lies.
He said Umno did not have to defend him any more as he wanted to do this on his own through a fair trial.
“I also believe I am innocent in all the charges made against me. My only fault is in trying to do the best for the citizens, the country and my party.
“I have the right to use my freedom of speech and defend myself against any accusations thrown at me or the previous BN government.”
The Pekan MP added he had no intention of being Umno president any more, a position he had held since 2009.
He said those helming the party now should be given the trust and space to prove they could lead the party and gain the trust of the people.
“All the allegations are against me and not Umno. It is unfair for them to bear this burden,” Najib said.
PKR’s Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni won the Sungai Kandis seat recently with 15,423 votes, defeating Lokman, who obtained 9,585 votes. Independent candidate K Murthy, meanwhile, got only 97 votes.
The Sungai Kandis seat became vacant when assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei of PKR died early last month from cancer.
On July 4, Najib, who is Pekan MP, claimed trial to three counts of criminal breach of trust and another charge of abuse of power. The four charges involved RM42 million linked to SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
On Aug 8, the former Umno president also claimed trial to three counts of money laundering involving RM42 million linked to SRC.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has reminded Umno leaders not to “step on someone’s head when they are down”.
Titiwangsa division chief Johari Abdul Ghani had questioned Najib’s prominent role during the Sungai Kandis campaign and said it might be wiser to “rest” him in the coming by-elections due to the perception of the people.