KUALA LUMPUR - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he did not have any malice in questioning the 1MDB scandal and that the Prime Minister himself should personally take the lead to explain the issue to the people.
Saying that he chose to speak up publicly as he was on an Umno platform, Muhyiddin who is the party deputy president, said during the closing of the Cheras Umno meeting last night that the Government should not underestimate the people's negative sentiments towards 1MDB.
"Don't underestimate the people, we cannot lie. When the Second Finance Minister explains on 1MDB, the critics rebut him. And when the Housing Minister speaks he is also rebutted.
"We cannot explain properly because even we don't know the facts. So who is going to tell us the facts? It should be the Prime Minister, true or not?" he asked the delegates.
Muhyiddin admitted that he led a movement to urge Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign as prime minister after the 2008 general election but the situation is different now as Umno is in a weak position and could not afford a leadership tussle.
Referring to his criticisms of 1MDB which he made during a closed door party session recently that was leaked, Muhyiddin said he told Najib the same thing.
"I support the move to probe 1MDB," he said, adding however that some people assumed he wanted to get at the Prime Minister.
"I have no malice. Why should I? But I have to speak the truth and give my views and advice."
He reminded delegates that he was not against Najib and that he was part of a team responsible to defend the Government's policies.
He said he was vocal during Cabinet meetings on 1MDB and other issues but was reluctant to speak about it publicly as he was concerned that his comments would be manipulated to make it look as if he was going against Najib.
At this point, Muhyiddin pointed to the media who was present and advised them not to twist his words.
He said that he had asked during meetings whether Barisan Nasional would win the next general election and the response was always negative or uncertain.
"I say this not to blame anyone because I too am part of the system and among the people responsible to help the Prime Minister but I feel worried if we fail to manage some of the important issues well.
"I want to give you a stern warning that if nothing is done now to manage these issues, Barisan will lose."
Muhyiddin said he had been in touch with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and he kept the Cabinet briefed on these meetings.