Tun Mahathir has endorsed Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin to be the next Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. He also openly criticize Muhammad Muhd Taib as someone that is poor English and a corrupted politician.
(Malaysiakini) “One of the candidates couldn’t write in English, he couldn’t speak English and therefore (that was why) he did something wrong in Australia because he could not understand English. My choice is Muhyiddin (Yassin).”
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad made this sarcasm-tinged comments when asked by a reporter as to who he would endorse as the country’s new number 2 once current Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak takes over the country.
Muhammad Muhd Taib and Muhyiddin are the only two candidates left contesting for the deputy presidency of Umno after the party’s disciplinary board barred Malacca Umno chief and Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam from contesting following his involvement in money politics.
It is therefore clear who the sarcasm was targeted at.
Although the reason given by Mahathir not to endorse Muhd Taib appears to be superficial, the former premier has stronger reasons as to why he thought Muhd Taib would not make the best candidate for the deputy presidency.
“It is important for the party that only personalities 'beyond any suspicion' are in the leadership line-up,” he told a press conference at his KLCC office this afternoon.
He said it was important for Umno members to be aware that Umno had already been rejected by the people as reflected in its poor performance in the March 8 polls last year.
“This is caused by widespread public perception that Umno is a party with corrupt leadership and therefore members must elect clean leaders in the party polls next week in order to restore public confidence in the party.
And for him, Muhd Taib who was arrested in 1996 for carrying RM2.4 million in cash in Australia is seen by the public as a corrupt person and does not exactly fit in the ‘clean character’ bill.
To a reporter’s query of the possibility that Mohd Ali’s supporters may back Muhd Taib given their perception that their leader has been sabotaged, Mahathir replied, “If that is the case, the real verdict will come at the 13th general election.
“When the public see that Umno members are electing someone who is not above suspicion, I think they will make a decision. They can elect him as deputy president but Umno will lose the next election,” he said.