KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told him to dissolve Umno in 2018 because the party had no future, the High Court heard.
Ahmad Zahid, 69, testified that Dr Mahathir said this to him in a meeting in June after the 14th General Election.
He claimed that Dr Mahathir wanted him to bring over all Umno members to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
"In the meeting, Dr Mahathir said Umno had no future, Umno was dead, Umno had been rejected by the Malays and that Barisan Nasional was buried because there were only four component parties left from 13.
"He (Dr Mahathir) asked me to defect, leave Umno and join Bersatu. He said Umno could not be trusted.
"He asked for Umno to be dissolved and told me to inform the members to join Bersatu and for me to forget Umno," he said during examination-in-chief conducted by his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal in his corruption trial involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) here on Tuesday (June 28).
Ahmad Zahid said he dismissed Dr Mahathir's requests and said that if he (Ahmad Zahid) was destined to join Bersatu, he would “die tomorrow and his grave would flood”.
"I said I would not dissolve Umno. I do not want this party to be buried without a headstone, I do not want this party, which has been around since 1946, to be buried just like that.
"I told Dr Mahathir that if I joined Bersatu and died the next day, my grave would be flooded because 3.8 million Umno members would come by and urinate on my grave," he said.
To a question by Ahmad Zaidi, Ahmad Zahid said he was threatened that “something would happen” to him if he refused Dr Mahathir's requests to defect and dissolve Umno.
Ahmad Zahid also told the court about a second meeting with Dr Mahathir in September the same year with four other top leaders from Umno where the same requests were repeated.
Ahmad Zaidi: Can you mention the names of those who attended the meeting?
Ahmad Zahid: It was me, deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and vice-presidents Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
Ahmad Zahid said after the meeting, all five of them decided to stay on in Umno as the Opposition.
Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.
The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on Wednesday (June 29).