Malaysian minister: Najib stayed loyal to predecessor Abdullah

PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Razak had stayed loyal to former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi when the latter was heavily criticised by his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said a minister.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said this while dismissing former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's version on how Najib succeeded Abdullah.

"Maybe Muhyiddin forgot that when Dr Mahathir was no longer the Prime Minister and began criticising Abdullah, it was Najib who publicly declared that his loyalty was with the Prime Minister," he said in a blog posting, Sunday.

Salleh said Muhyiddin, however, said and did nothing to defend Abdullah,

On Saturday at a forum in Johor, Muhyiddin had related how it was he who convinced Najib to take over as Prime Minister and this what was Dr Mahathir had wanted.

Muhyiddin had also claimed that Najib took "a long time to make up his mind".

But Salleh said what Muhyiddin left out from this story is that Najib did not want to betray the Prime Minister by going against him.

"Najib felt the deputy should be loyal to the number one. So it is not that Najib took a long time to make up his mind but more that Najib did not want to oust the Prime Minister.

"If Muhyiddin wants to relate history then let it be the correct version of history," he said.

Salleh also reminded Muhyiddin that "trust and respect needs to be earned, not demanded", when Muhyiddin complained that Najib was sidelining him and was no longer entrusted with the job of chairing certain meetings like in the past.