Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has brushed off talk that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will become de facto Prime Minister standing behind Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Muhyiddin said he did not think that it was necessary to brand the possible rise of Najib as Prime Minister and Muhyiddin as his deputy as the return of the Mahathir era.
“I do not know why people want to brand that sort of thing. I don’t know why people are so concerned about that. We are from the same era,” he said, responding to a suggestion by former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who said that the fall of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is the result of Dr Mahathir prevailing.
“The fact is there’s always continuity in terms of leadership. We are from the same party, with the same thinking and slight changes because different situations warrant some changes. So, I don’t think there is any necessity to brand it as bringing back the Mahathir era.
“I don’t think it is necessary to even brand it in such a way," he told reporters Wednesday after the first Malaysia-Indonesia joint trade and investment committee meeting here.
Muhyiddin said the fact that they met at certain functions did not mean that major developments were occurring.
To the question of whether Dr Mahathir has a role to play in this, Muhyiddin said, “he’s still a respectable elderly Malaysian statesman. You people also have high regard for him.” “I don’t think we can deny that fact, but to what extent he has influence in terms of administration, I think it is something that Najib should be able to manage.”
He said Najib had the experience as he was in Dr Mahathir’s old Cabinet and he is also in the present Cabinet.
Asked about him leading in the nominations for the Umno deputy presidency, he said: “Thanks to all the divisions that have nominated me but I have not got through the barrier. So I hope that this week I’ll be able to do that.”