The president of Malaysia’s largest political party Zahid Hamidi and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim are in the spotlight today after a leaked audio recording of what has been speculated to be a recent phone conversation between the two of them surfaced online.
Hours after the recording was leaked by local news portal MalaysiaNow, UMNO leader Zahid, 68, publicly denied that he was on the phone with Anwar despite sounding similar to one of the voices in the phone conversation about UMNO’s recent annual general assembly on March 28.
“I vehemently deny the conversation that happened in the audio recording,” Zahid said today, adding: “I would like to emphasize that there were no conversations between myself and Anwar after the UMNO general assembly.”
He also called the audio leak an “evil political ploy” against his party and plans to report the matter to the police. At the assembly, Zahid spoke against the idea of working with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s National Alliance coalition, his Bersatu party, or the Alliance of Hope in the next general election.
Anwar, 73, has not publicly commented on the recording, which was uploaded to SoundCloud this morning. In the friendly conversation, one of the voices mentioned that it was his first UMNO meeting in 22 years before going on to praise the other about his speech. Anwar, who leads the People’s Justice Party and the Alliance of Hope coalition, was a member of UMNO for 16 years before he left the party amid sodomy investigations.
The pair of voices also discussed ministers who can resign from the government. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Shamsul Anuar, who had said that he would resign if UMNO wanted him to, was named.
Parts of the conversation have been translated below:
On the UMNO assembly
A: It’s been 22 years since my first UMNO meeting
B: Don’t worry, that is only tactical OK?
A: No, no, your speech was great!
A: Congratulations. That speech was impressive!
B: You know who is my teacher right?
A: Good, good… proud of you
B: Thank you, thank you. My teacher… is the same person I’m talking to now
B: Shahidan who went against the motion got boo-ed five, six times
A: If only we could only get one minister to resign first…
B: They’re all cowards
A: Only Shamsul said he would resign. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes. Thank you, bro.
B: Thank you for your concern. Thank you for your moral support.
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This article, Leaked audio: UMNO leader denies speaking to Anwar Ibrahim after general assembly, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.