KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed had wanted to depose Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak since 2014, the High Court heard yesterday.
Testifying as the second witness, he admitted that he was not concerned that his actions would affect Umno.
He was taking the stand in his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir's case against the prime minister's press secretary Datuk Seri Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad over two allegedly defamatory statements.
Answering a question by Tengku Sharifuddin's lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, the now Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman said his actions were not damaging to Umno, but Najib.
Jahaberdeen: Is it true that since 2014 until now, you are trying to bring Najib down as prime minister?
Dr Mahathir: Yes, indeed.
Jahaberdeen: You have been the president of Umno for more than 20 years, aren't you worried that your actions could be damaging to the party?
Dr Mahathir: No, it is not damaging to Umno but to Najib....
Mahathir, 92, however, agreed with the lawyer that his current party PPBM is against Umno.
He said normally the vice-president of Umno will become the president, however it is upon the president's discretion.
Earlier, Mukhriz who is also the former Menteri Besar for Kedah, told the court that Umno members already knew that if a person secured the post of vice-president, it did not guarantee them the prime minister’s post.
To Jahaberdeen's question, Mukhriz said his father never encouraged him to become a politician.
"I did tell him that I wanted to contest for the post of Umno vice-president and I told him my intentions but he did not encourage me to do so.”
When re-examined by his lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, Mukhriz who is also Ayer Hitam assemblyman said he had entered the political world as he wanted to serve the people.
Trial continues on Oct 19 and 20 before judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim.
Mukhriz, 52, filed the suit on May 3 last year alleging that Tengku Sharifuddin had issued four defamatory statements against him on April 15, 20, 23 and 26, the same year.
The statements were under the headings, ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Donation Confirmation by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister’, ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Former DPM’s Reuters Interview’, ‘Mukhriz
Mahathir Statement: Response by Prime Minister’s Press Secretary’, and ‘Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Statement on Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Mukhriz Mahathir’.
Mukhriz alleged that the statements implied that Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin had conspired in a malicious campaign to topple a democratically-elected government and that he was involved directly in the plot between Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin.
Tengku Sharifuddin, in his statement of defence, denied that the four statements had disparaged Mukhriz and stressed that the statements were to explain and counter false accusations against Najib.
He said he bore no malice in issuing the media statements which were published for information and in the interest of the Malaysian people.
He said he had a duty and responsibility to defend the prime minister and counter false accusations for the people to have an accurate picture and facts, which had been deliberately twisted by irresponsible parties for political interest.