GE15: I backed Muhyiddin for PM as I didn’t have faith in Anwar, says Saifuddin

GE15: I backed Muhyiddin for PM as I didn’t have faith in Anwar, says Saifuddin

KUANTAN: Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, labelled a traitor many times during this 15th General Election (GE15) campaign, says he backed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister because he had no confidence in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s ability to lead the country.

“First, I would like to clarify that it was never part of the Pakatan Harapan agreement that Anwar took over as prime minister after two years.

“There was a succession plan, yes, but ‘two years’ wasn’t specified although Tun (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) did mention that time frame a few times.

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“But Anwar could not wait. He kept pressuring Tun which I felt wasn’t right. We were a new government and we were not ready for the transition.

“I didn’t like his way and I couldn’t support him,” Saifuddin told a press conference on Monday (Nov 14).

Saifuddin added that Anwar was also the reason he left PKR.

“The friction between Anwar and Azmin (Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali) is well known. But when we had the PKR national convention in Melaka (in September 2019), there was an understanding of a ceasefire between the two.

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“However, in his opening address at the convention, the first thing Anwar did was attack Azmin.

“A few of us, including Azmin, decided to leave the convention after lunch. Anwar should have been focusing on consolidating the party. But he clearly wasn’t interested in that.

“So I left and joined Bersatu,” he said.

Over the past week, several Pakatan candidates including PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli and Anwar had labelled Saifuddin a traitor, insinuating that he was behind the Sheraton Move that caused the fall of the Pakatan-led government in 2020.

Although Saifuddin had said earlier that he did not want to rebut their criticisms, the Pahang Perikatan Nasional chairman now wanted to say his piece and let the people decide.

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“Actually, I was behind Tun to be prime minister all the way. But suddenly, Anwar offered himself as a candidate.

“As the secretariat chief of Pakatan Harapan, I should have been behind Anwar. That would be the logical choice for me if I was looking out for myself.

“But I couldn’t support Anwar and when I realised Tun didn’t have enough support and that Muhyiddin had the numbers, I decided to put my support behind him.

“I was one of six to see Tun to let him know that we were supporting Muhyiddin as prime minister. We asked for his blessings because he was our leader and an elderly person and that was the right thing to do.

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“And he said that if Muhyiddin had the numbers, ‘OK-lah.’ It may not be his exact words, but in his thick Kedah slang, I remember him being behind our decision. That’s the story.

“If that makes me a traitor, then fine. I leave it to Malaysians to judge,” said Saifuddin.

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