By Lee Wei Lian
PUTRAJAYA, April 22 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed today singled out Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz as one of the ministers he thinks should not have been appointed into Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Cabinet.
He also named Datuk Johari Baharum as someone he thought should not have been made a deputy minister.
Dr Mahathir's remarks today came after he expressed disappointment last week that Najib had appointed "unsavoury characters" into his Cabinet.
"It is quite obvious that he (Najib) does not depend upon me, for example, he appointed ministers, deputy ministers who I think don't deserve to be ministers, who are involved in corruption," he told reporters today.
When asked by the press who these ministers were, he replied: "I won't tell you."
However, when pressed further, he added: "Nazri was nasty to me, so of course I don't like him. And Johari Baharum, has this accusation against him for accepting RM5 million to release people. Of course he was cleared but some people still feel he should not be made deputy minister."
Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri Aziz is Minister in the Prime Minister's department for law and parliament and Johari Baharum is deputy agriculture and agro based Industries minister.
In 2007, Johari had come under a cloud of allegations for allegedly accepting money to release a detainee when he was deputy internal security minister. He was later cleared.
Nazri had been one of the most vocal defenders of Tun Abdullah Badawi when the latter came under intense attacks from Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir also defended his stand that the Barisan Nasional (BN) should contest in the Penanti by-election despite Najib saying that it was a waste of time and energy and that the country should focus on the economy.
Mahathir said that he was not consulted on the issue and had the right to state his opinion when asked by the media as well as on his personal blog.
However he added that the difference in opinion did not mean he was opposed to Najib and that the Umno party president had the right to decide.
He also denies that he has offered to lead the campaign for the Penanti by-election if BN decided to contest.