Dr M says he told Zahid to dissolve Umno because party had abandoned its cause

Veena Babulal and Nadia Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did tell Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to dissolve the party.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, however, did not address claims that the latter was asked to join Bersatu.

“I told him to dissolve the party because there is no longer an Umno,” Dr Mahathir said laughingly, in a video interview loaded on the party’s Facebook page here today.

“It’s a fact that there is no longer an Umno, there is just a registered body but the basis of its struggle no longer exists. So what’s the point of these members remaining in a party that has abandoned its cause and prioritises cash or cash is king,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said under the circumstances Umno had to be dissolved, and if the members wanted to join other parties, they had to abandon the traits that caused the party that was held in such high regard to fall to a level that it was looked upon in disgust by all Malaysians regardless of race.

“Because of this they lost. Before this Umno never lost, it only lost because their leaders deviated and prioritised cash over the struggle,” he said while referring to how the 70-year-old party lost its hold over the Federal Government in the recent polls.

Zahid who is facing 45 charges related to criminal breach of trust, graft and under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 claimed that he had met Dr Mahathir recently with his deputy president and three Umno vice presidents.

Asked if that meant he was personally called by Dr Mahathir to jump ship and join PPBM, Zahid measured his words stating that he had to be “careful” with his statement.

“I met him personally with my deputy president and three Vice Presidents. The message was very loud and clear, we must jump ship and join Bersatu. (That) we must dissolve Unmo.

“That was very loud and clear.”

He also theorised that had he made the decision to jump ship he would surely not face the charges lumped against him. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd