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Monday, August 28, 2017

Zam: ‘Elitist’ Najib wrong to blame Mahathir for 1999 razor-thin win

PM Najib Razak is on a crusade against PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, says PPBM's Rais Hussin.
Zainuddin-Maidin-najib-razak-mahathir-mohamad-malaysia-election-1PETALING JAYA: A former Umno leader who lost his parliamentary seat to the opposition has disputed the prime minister’s claim that the “black eye” episode of 1998 involving Anwar Ibrahim almost cost him the Pekan seat in 1999.
Instead, former information minister Zainuddin Maidin blamed Najib Razak’s razor-thin majority on his “poor people skills” as well as his “elitist personality”.
“Najib had among the smallest and worst still, it was in a constituency that he had held for a long time,” Zainuddin told FMT, in response to Najib’s remarks on Saturday that he nearly lost his Pekan seat in the 1999 general election because of the injuries suffered by Anwar a year earlier.
After his sacking by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and subsequent dramatic arrest in September 1998, Anwar appeared days later in court sporting a black eye.
Abdul Rahim Noor who was inspector-general of police at the time admitted to assaulting a blindfolded Anwar. Rahim was later sentenced to two months’ jail and fined RM2,000.
Zainuddin said Najib was not “people friendly and very aristocratic”.
“He changed after the near defeat,” the former Utusan Melayu group editor-in-chief told FMT.
“It’s unfair for him to blame Mahathir because the other Umno candidates at the time won with a big majority.”
Najib retained the Pekan seat in 1999 by a 241-vote majority.
Zainuddin recalled that he himself had lost to the opposition in 2008, when he was defeated in Merbok by PKR’s Johari Abdul.
“I lost during the ‘tsunami’ where a lot of people had switched their support to the opposition. But it would be unfair for me to blame Pak Lah,” he said referring to then-prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Yesterday, Mahathir accused Najib of winning the Pekan seat through unethical means, including by bringing in voters from outside the constituency.
“Pekan only had 35,000 voters then. But in the following years, the figure went from 35,000 to 80,000. Where did they come from?” asked the PPBM chairman.
Rais Hussin, a member of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council and the chief strategist for PPBM, told FMT that Najib was only on a crusade against Mahathir.
“It was said that BN lost almost 300,000 Malay votes then, but there are no independent or scientific findings to prove or disprove that.
“What more on a constituency by constituency basis. I don’t know how much of the 300,000 Malay votes lost due to Anwar’s black eye can be apportioned to Pekan.
“So this is another of his (Najib’s) attempts, although only two days ago the IGP involved in the black eye episode said clearly that he has been charged, found guilty and served his time.”
Rais added that Rahim had apologised for the incident, claiming to have been provoked. This, he said, clearly showed that Rahim had not been acting under anyone’s instructions.
Najib’s new brand of politics, “the duck and dive”, was just meant to hide his own administrative and management weaknesses, Rais said.
“Najib conveniently forgot there were other more credible and bigger reasons for his near-defeat then, including Umno’s own internal politics, bickering among various teams and his own doing of non-performance.” - FMT

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