KOTA KINABALU: Friendship cannot take precedence over matters concerning the nation’s future, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said in response to the Prime Minister’s scathing remarks about him.
Brushing aside the accusation that he had stabbed Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the back, Shafie said his style was to confront critical issues directly even if it was the Prime Minister.
He said taking up the 1MDB issue directly with the Prime Minister was the reason he was eventually dismissed from the Cabinet.
“Now he accuses me of stabbing him in the back ... (it) has no basis,” he said of Najib’s speech in Semporna earlier about being disappointed by Shafie.
In a statement yesterday, Shafie said he even had a four-eyed meeting with Najib at one point and urged his political mentor to take the right and necessary action.
“And when he didn’t listen to my advice, I raised it again at Cabinet meetings, not once, but on several occasions. Eventually, Tan Sri Muhyiddin (Yassin) joined in to tell the Prime Minister that 1MDB was going in the wrong direction.
“It was told straight to his face, so to now accuse me of backstabbing is not right,” said Shafie.
He said he supported Najib on other occasions when the policies were good for the people and country.
Shafie said he was suspended from Umno not by Najib, but at the prompting of Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.
On Najib’s claim that he had failed to work with Musa on state matters, Shafie said that was the Chief Minister whispering in the Prime Minister’s ear.
“Musa should be demanding that issues in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 are resolved immediately and granted to Sabah, instead of badmouthing me,” he said.
Shafie said he believes Musa saw him as a threat to his position and also to Umno’s very survival in the state.
He added that the people would be the judge of “who did what” and leave it to them to decide his fate at the polls.