SHAH ALAM - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today stated that attempts by a former leader to drive a wedge between him and Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would not work as he had full confidence in his deputy.
They had been through both the good and bad times since 1986, said Najib, referring to the time he was Culture, Youth and Sports Minister before Ahmad Zahid joined him as his political secretary.
Besides that, Najib, who is also UMNO president , said he had once helped Ahmad Zahid defend his UMNO Youth head post for the Bagan Datoh UMNO division (now Bagan Datuk).
"That is why I want to say to you that the UMNO leadership is strong, trust me. I have full confidence in my deputy (Ahmad Zahid). No need to dwell on this (whether he has confidence in Ahmad Zahid).There are more important things to do," he said when opening the Shah Alam UMNO division's delegates conference here today.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is now chairman of opposition party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), earlier this week had stated that about two years ago Ahmad Zahid had come to see him about toppling Najib.
However, Ahmad Zahid, who is also UMNO vice president but carrying out the duties of deputy president, has denied this and instead said Dr Mahathir was the one behind the plot and that he had evidence to the effect.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, spoke about the time Dr Mahathir used his powers as prime minister to detain Ahmad Zahid under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
"Imagine, Ahmad Zahid who was the UMNO Youth head at the time was detained under the ISA. He (Dr Mahathir) sent two SB (Special Branch) officers to see Ahmad Zahid to say that if he wanted an early release from ISA detention, Ahmad Zahid had to sign a letter to resign as UMNO Youth head...in the end he signed it and gave up the post, said the prime minister.
Najib said the next day SB officers again approached Ahmad Zahid and asked him to sign another letter that he was resigning from the post on his own free will.
"Ahmad Zahid was in a situation like where a gun is pointed at one's head that is why Ahmad Zahid never forgot (what was done to him), so it does not make sense that he would have gone to see Tun M (Dr Mahathir) to ask for support to oust me. This is nothing but pure lies, stressed the prime minister.
Also present were Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister and Selangor UMNO chief Tan Sri Noh Omar and Shah Alam UMNO chief Datuk Azhari Shaari.
On his presence at the conference today, Najib said he chose Shah Alam from 22 parliamentary seats in Selangor to send a political message that should UMNO and BN want to change the political landscape by returning to power in the state, they should start their wave from the Shah Alam parliamentary constituency.
Do not fail at the third attempt. This time we will rise again with renewed vitality, we will seize Shah Alam and Selangor...make this an UMNO and BN state, he said.
For the purpose, Najib said UMNO and BN needed to have and integrated strategy and plan to gain the confidence of Selangor residents that it was important to have the state and federal governments from the same party.
He said the people should be made to see that UMNO and BN government had achieved enormous successes recognised globally and if the same party were to rule Selangor, the state would enjoy rapid development in future.
"We have to tell the people that the sweet promises of the opposition are cheap but the political stability, peace and harmony in the country brought by UMNO and BN is invaluable and should not be trivialised, said Najib.
According to him, Selangor residents needed to know about the failures of the state government under the leadership of Parti Keadilan Rakyat in implementing pledges made in the previous general election such as the failure to provide free education in the state.
As such, we will be drafting the 14th general election manifesto for Selangor which is believable and can be implemented. We have felt the pain of being the opposition and we will offer a better government for the people in Selangor, he said.
At the event, Najib announced an allocation of RM3 million to the Shah Alam UMNO division to carry out community programmes in the parliamentary constituency including at suraus, mosques as well as for activities of various houses of worship of other religions.