PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad stands by his statement that Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir was directly involved in a move to topple the Government.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Prime Minister's press secretary said that his opinions were fair comment based on observations and were not wild allegations, adding that he looked forward to discussing the matter in court.
He also reiterated his claim that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's bid to oust Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was to set the stage for Mukhriz to eventually take on the position.
On Monday, Mukhriz filed a civil claim against Tengku Sarifuddin seeking damages for loss of reputation for allegedly defaming him.
Below is the full statement released by Tengku Sarifuddin:
1. It is ironic that Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir has chosen to sue me. It is his father Tun Mahathir Mohamad who always claims that the law is being used to silence critics of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
2. Unlike Tun Mahathir, I haven't made any wild allegations. My opinions are fair comment based on actions by Tun Mahathir, Datuk Seri Mukhriz and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who led the failed campaign to unseat the Prime Minister.
3. They were interested parties, and I believe motivated by ambition and desire for power. Many think that Tun Mahathir wanted Tan Sri Muhyiddin to be his proxy Prime Minister, with Datuk Seri Mukhriz as Deputy Prime Minister until he was ready to take over.
4. Their legal action shows that I have hit a nerve. It is understandable that Datuk Seri Mukhriz is emotionally distressed that for once his father has failed to get his way.
5. Tun Mahathir knows that there is a much faster way than the courts to stop all the speculation about his motivation for trying to replace the Prime Minister. All he needs to do is state who he wants instead as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
6. His consistent failure to answer this one simple question betrays the truth: the objective of Tun Mahathir's Anti Najib Campaign is to pave the way for his son.
7. Looking at my comments in the context of the entire episode, I'm confident it will be clear that what I said is fair and represents my reading of the actions of Datuk Seri Mukhriz and his father without any malice.
8. So I'm not disturbed by this legal action. I look forward to seeing Datuk Seri Mukhriz and discussing this further in court.