PETALING JAYA – Prime Minister Najib Razak’s defence of his deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi came a few days too late.
This is according to Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who said the same goes with Zahid’s response to the allegation that he had, not long after being promoted to the deputy prime minister’s post, met with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad with a plan to take down Najib.
The time lapses suggests that the duo may be doubting each other’s loyalties, and that there is a “rift between their respective camps in Umno”, the PPBM Youth chief said.
“Mahathir made the allegation more than a week ago. When did Najib come to Zahid’s defence? Almost a week later, which is quite late.
“And when did Zahid respond to the allegation? Three, four days later.
Usually these kinds of things you would want to respond immediately.
“But they didn’t. This suggests that there is some truth to Mahathir’s allegation, and that doubts exists between Zahid and Najib,” Syed Saddiq said in a press conference at the PPBM headquarters here today.
Mahathir last week had alleged that he and Zahid had a secret meeting back in 2015, where the latter sought his support and sympathy to replace Najib as the prime minister.
Zahid on Friday confirmed that the meeting did take place 10 days after he became the deputy prime minister, but said it was held with Najib’s blessing.
He also denied having plans to take down Najib, saying he had a recording of the meeting with Mahathir.
Syed Saddiq, however, said he knew for a fact that Mahathir would not lie about such matters, and repeated the challenge which opposition leaders have since thrown at Zahid, that is to release the said recording.
“A recording is clear cut, it can be an official evidence if this case goes to court.”
Yesterday, Najib told Shah Alam Umno delegates that he did not believe in the allegation that Zahid had conspired to topple him, calling it slander.
“It does not make sense for my deputy to want to overthrow me. Not possible and not true. It is complete slander,” he was reported saying.
The Umno president also said that his deputy had always been a good friend in times of difficulty, as well as when things were going well.