Former Umno Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman today said he was a witness to the fact that MPs from the party had signed statutory declarations (SDs) in support of Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister despite Umno’s staunch “No Anwar” policy.
He said the letters of support were signed in haste, adding that he himself had been reluctant to do so.
Nevertheless, he said he agreed to do so as a sign of respect for Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“His face would have been black if we didn’t sign,” he said. “So I signed the SD as well.”
MalaysiaNow previously reported a telephone conversation between Zahid and Anwar, the PKR president, after the Umno general assembly in March 2021.
The four-minute phone call was believed to have taken place hours after Zahid’s closing speech at the Umno general assembly, where he sought a mandate for the decision to cut ties with Perikatan Nasional and Bersatu.
He later declared that the motion had been unanimously accepted.
Zahid was Anwar’s key ally during their time in Umno when it was headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s. Anwar at that time was seen as the successor to the top post before Mahathir sacked him from both party and government in 1998.
Zahid was among Anwar’s associates who were arrested under the Internal Security Act following Anwar’s dramatic removal. He later pledged loyalty to Mahathir and climbed up the political ladder while Anwar served time in prison.
The phone conversation came in the wake of MalaysiaNow’s revelation in October 2020 that Zahid and former leader Najib Razak had written a joint letter to the palace expressing support for Anwar as prime minister.
In the letter dated Oct 11, addressed to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, they said that they, along with “a group of Umno MPs”, were backing Anwar.
Perlis Umno veteran Shahidan Kassim, who was removed as state Umno chief in April 2021, later said that Zahid and his allies had been on a “signature drive” to gather support for Anwar from among the Umno MPs.
Wanita Umno exco member Shamsiah M Yassin also said that Zahid had approached the wing, asking them to support Anwar as prime minister.
“He (Zahid) wanted us to support Anwar. We said ‘No way’,” Shamsiah told MalaysiaNow, adding that Wanita Umno was not firmly behind Zahid.
Speaking today, Tajuddin said Zahid had lied to the Umno grassroots and the people at large by maintaining the “No DAP, no Anwar” stand.
“He lied,” he repeated.
He also said that the MPs had signed the SDs at Hotel Tamu in Kuala Lumpur.
“I sat there waiting for them to sign,” he added.
Listen to Zahid-Anwar telephone conversation: