Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused the Perikatan Nasional-backed Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition of using “a lot of money” to win the recent Sabah election, in an exclusive interview with MalaysiaNow during which he took potshots at his once-closest ally Muhyiddin Yassin.
The former prime minister said he believed Warisan Plus, the alliance led by former chief minister Shafie Apdal, should have emerged victorious in Sabah.
“Warisan won the most (number of seats for individual parties). But I have been told that so much money was used.”
Mahathir claimed there was also an instance in which “a voter was handed RM1,000”.
“That’s what people tell me, but I am unable to prove it,” he said in the hour-long interview.
Mahathir, 95, resigned as prime minister in February this year, causing the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government which he had led for 22 months.
He later fell out with Muhyiddin, who co-founded Bersatu, and in August announced the formation of a new party called Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.
The recently concluded Sabah state election saw GRS, which brought together Muhyiddin’s PN, Barisan Nasional and PBS, winning 38 of the 73 seats. Shafie’s Warisan Plus, comprising Warisan, DAP, Amanah, PKR and Upko, won 32 seats.
Mahathir, who had openly stated his preference for Shafie to head Putrajaya should PH make a comeback, said the former CM had dissolved the Sabah state assembly after sensing attempts to “buy over” Warisan assemblymen.
“He called for the election to allow the people to decide. But when he allowed the people to decide, they were used, influenced with money. Then again, it’s difficult for us to prove.”
Mahathir said similar tactics were used in the Slim by-election in Perak.
“We found out that they pretended to transport voters using buses and vans. But inside, they were given money,” he added.
He further claimed that voters who were “paid” were told to snap a picture of the ballot paper to show whom they had voted for.
“This is what’s happening. We have reached a level where the government can be bought.”
Mahathir said elections in Malaysia were now “meaningless”.
“The losers form the government. This is what happened at both the federal level and in Sabah.”
Mahathir believes the present Sabah government under Chief Minister Hajiji Noor will not be stable, drawing comparison to Muhyiddin’s PN government.
“He basically has only two seats more. If there are people don’t attend (Dewan Rakyat), the government could fall.”