KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he never betrayed the party or tried to topple any sitting prime minister.
In his policy speech on the first day of Umno annual general assembly (AGM) here Thursday, the Umno president said he was loyal to the party leadership when it went through turbulence times in 1987 party crisis.
His remark was in apparent reference to one of his staunch critics, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was sitting on the front row of the audience.
"Throughout my career as a politician and a cabinet minister, every knows that this, Najib Razak, is not someone who is confrontational.
"I also never attempted to topple anybody, let alone betray this beloved Umno party," he said, pointing his finger to Mahathir.
He said many were aware of his political style, as the history of the party has shown.
"In 1987, this is the same Najib Razak, who gave undivided support to Tun Dr Mahathir when the party was going through hard times and I was one of those who defended him as an Umno president, so he could defence his premiership," he said.
Mahathir, at this point, looked amused.
His deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who have been on the offensive against Najib, were also not spared.
Both were seated apart from Najib on the stage.
Holding the party constitution book, Najib said as a deputy, it is their duty to bear the responsibility to assist the president in his tasks, as clearly spelled out in the party constitution.
"Meanwhile Section 9.8.2 clearly states that it is the deputy president's responsibility to assist the president in his tasks," drawing cheers from the crowd.
Muhyiddin appeared nodding.
"Section 9.8.3. said it is the responsibility of the vice presidents to assist the president in his tasks," he said.
He also appeared to lash out against the party members who had publicly aired their grouses, saying that this should have been done through proper channels.
Additional reporting by D. Kanyakumari.