An audio recording of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi purportedly briefing fellow party leaders on cooperating with arch-rivals in Pakatan Harapan (PH) has been making the rounds in several online political discussion groups including on popular mobile messenger platform WhatsApp.
Sources in Umno who alerted MalaysiaNow to the recording believe that it is genuine, saying it was part of a discussion during a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council in Janda Baik, Pahang, last month.
MalaysiaNow could not immediately verify the claim.
But when contacted, an aide to Zahid said he was aware of the audio file although he had no knowledge of its authenticity.
In the audio clip, which lasted a little over one and a half minutes, a voice identical to that of Zahid is heard referring to a conversation with Teluk Intan MP and DAP deputy secretary-general Nga Kor Ming.
“I told Nga Kor Ming, you must abide by these four items in the constitution. One, Islam as the religion of the federation, the status of Malay rulers, the special privileges of the Malays, and Malay as the national language. He made a media statement,” it said.
It then made reference to another DAP leader, the party’s organising secretary Loke Siew Fook, adding that he too had released a media statement to state a lack of objection to the four constitutional provisions.
The man then referred to the rare unity between Umno and PH assemblymen in Perak in bringing down Bersatu’s Ahmad Faizal Azumu as menteri besar last December.
He said Umno could form an alliance with Anwar Ibrahim, who leads the three-party PH alliance made up of PKR, DAP and Amanah.
“He went to jail twice. Assuming his actions are clean, but as for his relationship with God, we don’t know… I have never seen,” the man said, before the audio file ended.
A source said the audio was just one of several parts of a recording of Umno’s Janda Baik meeting, where the party decided not to work with Bersatu at the next general election.
Zahid and former prime minister Najib Razak, both of whom were Anwar’s allies when the latter was climbing the political ladder in Umno in the 1990s, have been at the forefront of efforts to get Umno to work with the PKR leader.
In October, MalaysiaNow revealed the contents of a letter by the duo to the palace, expressing their support for Anwar’s bid to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Zahid and Najib are among a group of Umno leaders who claim that their party has been sidelined by Muhyiddin from key government appointments.
Muhyiddin was sacked from his deputy prime minister’s post by Najib in 2015 over criticism on the latter’s handling of the 1MDB scandal.
He later joined hands with Dr Mahathir Mohamad to form Bersatu before toppling Najib in the 2018 election.