PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has dismissed claims that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was charged with corruption after the Umno president refused to accede to his demands to dissolve the party.
The former prime minister questioned the apparent silence by his then Cabinet members and Pakatan Harapan leaders, including the coalition’s chairman Anwar Ibrahim, after Zahid was charged.
“If I had indeed abused my power, why didn’t anyone question the charges against Zahid?
“Many of those in my Cabinet were from PH and PKR, including Anwar’s wife who was the deputy prime minister,” he said in a statement, referring to Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Last week, it was reported that Anwar had repeated a claim by Zahid that the charges were brought against him (Zahid) after he spurned the offer by Mahathir, who was the prime minister at the time, to disband Umno.
Anwar was reported to have said this when commenting on the conditional discharge granted to Zahid on his 47 corruption charges.
Mahathir said it would be “amusing” if his ministers from PH were afraid to raise the issue at the time because they were very vocal when it came to handing over the prime minister’s post to Anwar.
“Maybe they have forgotten that at the time, they were backing the legal action taken against Zahid and (former prime minister) Najib (Razak) as it was in line with the rule of law and the evidence the PH government had in its fight against corruption.”
Mahathir again admitted that he had asked Zahid to disband Umno because he believed the latter was using the party as a bargaining chip to avoid being dragged to court.