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More troubling questions for Anwar after his claim of rejecting Najib-Zahid support

It could also point to the failure of the PKR leader to report a serious criminal attempt on the back of the nation's political instability.

3 minute read
Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak.
Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak.

Anwar Ibrahim appears to have gotten himself into deeper trouble with opposition supporters following his latest claim that he had rejected support from former prime minister Najib Razak and Umno chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his quest to take over the top office two years ago.

Insiders also say that Anwar, who heads the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, may have committed an offence by not reporting an attempt of bribery where Najib and Zahid allegedly agreed to support him in return for the dropping of criminal charges against them.

A highly reliable source close to senior PKR leaders dismissed Anwar’s claim, saying the party president was contradicting himself by saying that his support did not take into account the duo due to the conditions they gave him.

“This claim is mind-boggling, to say the least. Firstly, it is very clear that Najib and Zahid were leading the efforts to boost Anwar’s support by forcing Umno MPs to sign statutory declarations (SD) to be sent to the palace.

“So if it’s true that Anwar decided to throw out Najib and Zahid’s SDs, would the other Umno MPs who apparently gave their support on the instructions of these two leaders still support him?” the source, who was privy to discussions on a plan to topple the Muhyiddin Yassin government in September 2020, told MalaysiaNow on condition of strict anonymity.

It also said there was no way that those aligned with Najib and Zahid would have maintained their support for Anwar “which was given on the instruction of their party bosses”.

“The support of these Umno MPs was premised on the support of their leaders. So it doesn’t make any sense at all that these MPs continued to back Anwar when the support of the very leaders who pursuaded them to support him was thrown out.”

Najib and Zahid, who are facing scores of criminal and corruption charges involving billions of ringgit, had been at the forefront of attempts to dislodge Muhyiddin from the top office.

In September 2020, some seven months into Muhyiddin’s administration, Anwar declared that he had a “strong, formidable and convincing majority” in his quest for the prime ministership, following which he had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to show the numbers.

The royal audience however ended with the palace ticking off the PKR leader for failing to furnish the names of the MPs said to be behind him.

Earlier this week, Umno’s Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman revealed that not only had Zahid backed Anwar, the Umno president had also approached other MPs to pursuade them to support the PKR leader as well.

PKR spokesman Shamsul Iskandar Akin said in a response that Tajuddin’s claim was proof that Anwar had not been lying when he said he had the necessary numbers.

Following this, a Bersatu leader challenged Anwar to reveal what he had promised Zahid and the other Umno MPs facing criminal charges in return for their support.

Anwar today claimed that he had the support of 120 MPs, but had decided not to take into account that of Najib and Zahid due to the conditions they had imposed.

He also said that he was not prepared to fulfil their desire to have the charges against them dropped.

“I was not ready to do this. So, even though I already had enough numbers and my road to become prime minister was clear, I was not ready to compromise the independence of our judiciary,” Anwar said as quoted by Malaysiakini.

A PKR source said if it was true that such an offer was made, the matter should have been reported to the police.

“This could be tantamount to not reporting the very serious crime of bribery being made to the leader of the opposition who was vying for the top post.

“It is shocking that he kept quiet and still went to town to declare he had a strong majority,” said the long-time associate of the PKR leader who is no longer politically active.