Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin today said that the charges against his party leaders were masterminded by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in an attempt to weaken it, following the accusations of bribery brought in court against Bersatu information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
He said Zahid had previously issued statements that appeared to be attempts to paint Bersatu as a faction of the so-called court cluster.
"After this, there will be a new court cluster," he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur court complex, where Wan Saiful was charged this morning.
"This is something already attempted from early on. So what has happened, I think was already planned ahead of time."
Muhyiddin and several other Bersatu leaders had come to the court complex in a show of support for Wan Saiful, who was charged with two counts of bribery amounting to RM6.9 million related to a JanaWibawa project.
The Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman claimed that the scheme had been worked out between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, which he said were unhappy with the level of support for his coalition at the 15th general election.
He added that the charges against Wan Saiful were "selective prosecution", saying his party had become the target of "certain quarters".
Today, he said, receiving political donations appeared to have become a criminal offence even though other parties had received similar contributions for their own efforts.
"None of their party leaders have been charged in court," he added.
When asked if the charges against Wan Saiful would affect PN's chances at the upcoming state elections, Muhyiddin said it was up to the people to decide.
He added that PN would face challenges as its accounts had been frozen for several months now.
"I have appealed to Azam Baki to unfreeze the accounts," he said, referring to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief.
"It's only fair because we as a party need what funds that we have."