UMNO leaders are deliberately distorting the message in their speeches as the party grows desperate to win over the support of different communities ahead of the next general election, said opposition Pakatan Harapan vice-president Mukhriz Mahathir.

According to Mukhriz, recent speeches by two top Umno leaders were contradictory and clearly meant to deceive their audience.

He cited the speech by Umno’s Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil during the recent party general assembly, where she claimed that veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang would become prime minister if the opposition won the next elections.

“Then she says ‘emperor’ Lim Kit Siang and DAP will be in power. That is what she said,”  said Mukhriz at a PH event in Johor Baru.

He then played a recording of a speech allegedly made by Umno president Najib Razak during the officiating ceremony of MCA’s general assembly earlier this year.

“The choice is in your hands. For the Chinese community, DAP can never form a government, the reality of the last election is that even though they won, they cannot form a government.

“They cannot do better than the last election, cannot, even if they do their best, they cannot run the country,” the recording said.

Mukhriz then told the crowd of some 100 opposition supporters that while Najib had stressed to a Chinese audience that DAP would not be able to lead the government, Shahrizat was contradicting him in her message to Umno members.

“This is their problem – contradicting statements among themselves,” he said to an amused crowd.

Yesterday, PH chief secretary Saiduddin Abdullah said Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) used scare tactics to pull in voters by saying different things to Malay and Chinese voters.

No longer a stronghold

State PH chairman Muhyiddin Yassin said Johor was no longer a BN stronghold, adding that Najib was aware of this as evident by the fact that the prime minister has yet to call the elections.

The former deputy prime minister said government agency reports have rattled Najib’s confidence of winning the next elections.

“They say Johor is a ‘blue state’, blue is the colour of BN. But I ask you where is the blue now?”  

Muhyiddin said PH would not only increase its parliamentary seats in GE14, but it could wrest control of Johor.

“We have 19 state seats. To win Johor, we only need 29 seats to get a simple majority,” said the Pagoh MP.

Apart from Pagoh, PH has five other members of parliament in Johor – Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Gelang Patah), Liew Chin Tong (DAP- Kluang), Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri), Teo Ni Ching (DAP-Kulai) and Mohd Idris Jusi (PKR-Batu Pahat).