Umno newspaper attacks Najib, blames his “donation lie” for BN’s defeat.
Umno has distanced itself from an editorial piece in Utusan Malaysia which hit out at former leader Najib Razak, although a party leader questioned if the party-owned daily was doing the bidding for the Pakatan Harapan government.
“I don’t want to comment. I don’t intend to make any kind of statement. There is nothing from Umno,” said Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, when asked to respond on a commentary in Utusan’s weekend edition yesterday, accusing Najib of lying to members over the source of some RM2.6 billion he received in his bank account.
The comments were written by Awang Selamat, the pseudonym used to represent Utusan’s editorial voice.
Awang Selamat said Najib must apologise to Umno members, adding that he had lied over some RM2.6 billion linked to the 1MDB scandal, money that Najib had said was a gift from the Saudi royal household.
“This has led to Malaysians, Umno members particularly, feeling cheated as all this while they accepted his explanation that the money was a donation from the Saudi government,” said Utusan, in a first hard-hitting commentary against Najib since his fall from grace in the May elections.
The paper said Najib’s “lies” had also cost Barisan Nasional the 14th general election.
Despite Annuar’s refusal to comment, an Umno division chief took Utusan’s new management to task, and questioned if the media group’s chairman Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir was being used by the present government.
Batu Pahat Umno chief Mohd Puad Zarkashi said Aziz must apologise over the article.
“Why use Utusan to urge Najib to apologise to Umno members on 1MDB issues? Is Aziz part of the Mahathir-Daim gameplan to further tear apart Umno’s unity after GE14?” he asked, referring to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his trusted aide Daim Zainuddin.
“Aziz has gone to the extreme as even the MACC has not made any charges against Najib regarding the RM2.6 billion allegedly from 1MDB. On what basis then is Aziz accusing Najib of being guilty, and asking for his apology?” wrote Puad.
According to Puad, Aziz had even surpassed the courts as none of the 38 charges currently faced by Najib had anything to do with stealing 1MDB money.
“Thus, it is bad for him to label Najib a cheater. Unless he (Aziz) denies that he is ‘Awang Selamat’.”
The broadside against Najib could be due to the possibility of Aziz himself being subjected to MACC investigations, Puad alleged.
“Aziz is now the same with Pakatan Harapan, which is worried that Najib’s popularity will kill the slander that BN’s loss in GE14 was due to the 1MDB scandal. Aziz must acknowledge that his act benefits Harapan and confuses Umno members.
“His act of using the ‘Awang Selamat’ editorial column to attack Najib incidentally happened a day after Najib had a Facebook live session with his supporters at PWTC. That session proved to be successful with the youth, with viewership touching 602,656 thus far,” said Puad.
“Aziz should apologise to Najib for jumping to conclusion. If he refuses to do so, then it is better for Umno members to boycott Utusan.”
The editorial said it made no sense that Najib was unaware of where such a huge sum of money is from.
“What makes less sense was Najib did not take the initiative to thank the Saudi Arabia government or the King, if the money was indeed from them,” it wrote, adding that Najib’s “lies” were finally exposed during his recent interview with Al-Jazeera.
The editorial stopped short of calling Najib a thief, citing an old saying that “not all thieves are liars but all liars would always steal”.
Annuar meanwhile said Utusan’s piece yesterday was part of press freedom.
“There’s freedom for the media. So the issue of whether it should or should not (publish) does not arise.
“Everyone is free to give their opinion, including the media,” said Annuar.