KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court today that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in June 2018 urged him to dissolve Umno.
In defending himself in his corruption trial by labelling it a politically-motivated persecution, Zahid said that he had privately met with Dr Mahathir sometime in June 2018 after the latter’s Pakatan Harapan coalition won the 14th general election.
Zahid however said that the meeting was initiated by two individuals who had relayed the message that Dr Mahathir allegedly wanted to meet him, and that it was only after the two individuals’ third attempt that he then met with Dr Mahathir.
"That meeting is a four-eye meeting. Tun Mahathir said that allegedly it was because I asked to meet, he said he wanted to meet with anyone. Although in reality, those two persons said Tun Mahathir wanted to meet with me, that means those two persons lied to Tun Mahathir and to me.
"In that four-eye meeting, Tun Mahathir said to me that Umno has no future, Umno is dead, Umno has already been rejected by the Malays and voters; BN has been buried, because from 13 component parties there are now four left, and he clearly asked me to party hop, leave Umno and join Bersatu,” he told the High Court, referring to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia which Dr Mahathir was chairing at that time.
"He said that Umno is already not trusted, Umno is already not relevant, Umno is a party of robbers, Umno is a party of bandits, Umno is a party of corrupters, Umno is a party that is already disgusting and dirty, these words I still remember today.
"Not just that, he said because Umno has no future, as the person carrying out the duties of the Umno president, he asked for Umno to be dissolved and asked me to tell all Umno members to join Bersatu under the name of ‘Malays’, and he said forget Umno because Umno is too dirty. That is what was said to me,” he related.
He also said he had told Dr Mahathir that he did not want to join Bersatu and he refused to dissolve Umno, adding that he said then he did not want Umno to be buried without a gravestone.
"I was not willing for Umno that has been trusted since 1946 to be buried just like that, I said I don’t want. If I joined Bersatu, if Umno was cancelled, then if it is fated that tomorrow I die, my grave would be flooded.
"He asked why would it be flooded, I said 3.8 million Umno members will all come to my grave and urinate on my grave. Because of that, I was not willing for Umno to be buried and to save myself by joining Bersatu,” he said.
After the May 9, 2018 election, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on May 12 announced his resignation as Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman, while Zahid, who was Umno vice-president but handled the duties of the deputy president, took over duties for both positions.
Zahid said he was first investigated in July 2018 by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for this case.
He was first charged in October 2018, and later continued to be prosecuted.
In this trial, Zahid — who is a former deputy prime minister and former home minister — is facing 47 charges, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges.
The trial before High Court judge Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah resumes tomorrow, with the prosecution expected to begin its cross-examination of Zahid.