SEREMBAN: Word that Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan is eyeing the prime minister post is a "hot issue within Umno and PAS" despite denials from the man himself, says PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.
Mohamad could say that he never thought about becoming Prime Minister, said Rafizi, but his colleagues within Umno and PAS were singing a different tune.
"We have friends from both sides.
"Mohamad becoming a prime minister is a hot issue within Umno and PAS.
"I can understand his reaction in denying it because he's afraid. But a tree won't shake if there's no wind or someone shaking it," he told reporters after a ceramah in Rantau near here on Wednesday night (April 10).
Earlier in his speech, Rafizi said Mohamad, the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Rantau state seat, would not focus on the constituency should he win as he would be too busy chasing after the "9th prime minister post after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim".
Mohamad had earlier on Wednesday (April 10) denied ever having such an ambition, adding that he would ask his colleagues to stop talking about it.
However, Rafizi insisted that Mohamad was eyeing the country's number one post.
The former Pandan MP claimed that Mohamad, who is also acting Umno president, had been taking credit for reviving Umno following the embattled party's victory in the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections earlier this year.
"He's portraying himself as the saviour because he's positioning himself as the next Prime Minister.
"He's taking credit that he is able to revive Umno and lead Umno to become the next federal government. Now between Umno and PAS, they are confident that they can win in the next general election.
"And Mohamad is thumping his chest (saying) that the revival happened after he took over from Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"If he's not confident that he will become the prime minister or he has no such ambition, then his camp within Umno wouldn't come up with such a story," said Rafizi.
He added that since Mohamad was now leading Umno and was seen as a prime ministerial candidate should Umno and PAS win in the next general election, the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar must expect greater scrutiny from the public.
Mohamad should therefore be honest and come clean over the 2008 issue when he transferred RM10mil via a moneychanger to buy an apartment in London, said Rafizi.
He said that there were only two instances whereby a Malaysian would resort to that method, which would be either because the money was not his or he was in debt.
In the latter case, Rafizi said, the regulations in 2007 stated that a person who had debt in the country could only transfer RM1mil overseas per year.
"Or it could be the money was not his. That's why he used a moneychanger, because he wanted to hide the source of that cash," he added.
Mohamad had in 2008 been cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Attorney-General's Chambers, but the moneychanger implicated was found guilty and had its business licence revoked.
Umno leaders came to Mohamad's defence over the case by saying that he was a wealthy man as he worked in the corporate sector for many years before joining politics.
"It's not a question whether he's rich or not. This is a question whether he's honest or dishonest," said Rafizi who was in town, along with Pakatan Harapan leaders like PKR president Anwar and Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming to stump for Pakatan candidate Dr S. Streram in the Saturday (April 13) Rantau polls.
Dr Streram and Mohamad are in a four-cornered fight along with independent candidates R. Malarvizhi and Mohd Nor Yassin for the state seat.