Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak need not compare his influence in Umno with his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the latter had exited the party for nine months, said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir.
"There is no reason to raise the question on Mahathir's influence as he left the party a long time ago," he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.
In an interview with The Sunday Star on Nov 27, Najib said unlike Mahathir, he had grown up with the party leaders since first joining Umno at the age of 23.
Najib said this had given him a huge advantage because he grew up with over two generations of leaders in Umno, thus Mahathir couldn't dislodge him from Umno.
He also claimed that Mahathir could no longer wield the "fear factor" among Umno members.
"He ruled by fear. Once he was no longer president, there is no more fear of him nor the ability to control, and he could not determine things in Umno. There was respect but no fear," said Najib.
Najib also claimed that Mahathir was not close to Umno division chiefs.
Mukhriz, who is one of Mahathir's sons, however said this was merely Najib's personal views.
"From what (we) see, there are Umno members who disagree with Najib, but they just did not say it openly," he said.
Najib's remark only reflected he was under pressure, Mukhriz said.
"Usually, people will notice the good deeds of a person. This is as though you are blowing your own trumpet when you are stating it yourself.
"Furthermore, he said it at a planned interview, definitely (he will) show off his advantages, especially when election is getting closer," he added.
Mahathir left Umno with his wife Siti Hasmah in protest against the party he once helmed for two decades, claiming it has become a party dedicated to protecting Najib.- Mkini