Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday upped the ante against Anwar Ibrahim, saying the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader was vying for the top office without any experience in governing the country, especially during times of difficulty such as when the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration was battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Muhyiddin, who was prime minister for 17 months and led Malaysia's war against the pandemic before he was toppled by Umno leaders aligned with their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak, said he had resorted to several tough measures which in the end helped Malaysia enter the endemic stage.
He said these included the movement control order (MCO), which forced the government to dish out more than RM500 billion in cash and other emergency funds to help cushion the impact of the economic shutdown.
"I really didn't like it (imposing the MCO), but if there was no MCO, things would have been out of control.
"So Anwar Ibrahim says I am the 'father of MCO'. I am not going to swear here," Muhyiddin said, in remarks seen as a swing to the offensive against Anwar, who has been attacking PN leaders ahead of the election.
"This PH leader is very irresponsible. He is not grateful. He should be thankful for the government's efforts that finally saved his family's lives," Muhyiddin told the crowd attending a ceramah in Kuala Lumpur.
Muhyiddin also rubbished PH's "excuse" that it had not had enough time to cause an impact in its 22-month administration, saying his government had only had 17 months.
"We want a government that is not just effective in its administration, but clean as well," he said.
"Barisan Nasional (BN) is not clean because it has corruption cases."
Muhyiddin urged Anwar not to lay claim to more support than he had, saying there were still five days to go before polling day and that anything could happen within that time.
At a ceramah in Pasir Salak, Anwar had said that his party was ahead in terms of support, citing data and local research.
"I could say the same thing, but the important thing is to let the voters make the smart choice," Muhyiddin said.
"I have already explained at length what we have to offer and what we will fight for, but over there, (PH) hasn't said anything.
"For him, it's not important. The important thing is position. But for me, service is more important, and what we want to offer the country so that it can safely recover."