A purported letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong signed by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi supporting opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to be prime minister is fake, said a spokesperson from the Umno president’s office.
A denial was also issued on Umno’s official website.
“Umno strongly denies the viral letter purportedly supporting Anwar as the ninth prime minister,” the statement read.
The letter bears the signature of both Zahid and his predecessor Najib Abdul Razak.
In the letter, which has been circulating online, Zahid purportedly said he, Najib and several other Umno MPs had retracted their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and were backing PKR president Anwar Ibrahim instead.
The letter, dated Oct 11, added that this would be their stand until the end of the 14th Parliament sitting in order to avoid triggering a general election during the current Covid-19 and economic crisis.
Yesterday, MalaysiaNow reported that Najib and Zahid, in a joint letter to the ruler, had indicated that Umno was supporting Anwar.
The portal had cited a high-level Umno source as having divulged the contents of the letter.
Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin, however, was quoted by Astro Awani downplaying the purported letter, calling it mere “speculation”.
Anwar had on Sept 23 claimed that he had secured a formidable majority to form the new government.
Hours after the announcement, Zahid issued a statement confirming that many Umno MPs were leaning towards Anwar.
This raised concerns, particularly in DAP, on Anwar possibly working with Zahid who is facing 47 charges of money laundering, corruption and criminal breach of trust.
Anwar has not revealed the list of MPs purportedly backing him but has provided supporting documents to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
However, the monarch will not be calling any party leaders to verify the claim until after the conditional movement control order (MCO) which expires on Oct 27 for Kuala Lumpur where Istana Negara is located.
The conditional MCO was reimplemented after a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Umno had announced that it may quit the Perikatan National administration, which will lead to its collapse if Umno does not get a new deal.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has a fragile majority, controlling only 113 out of the 222 parliamentary seats. The defection of three MPs is enough to topple his government.
Muhyiddin has asked Umno to state its demands in a bid to rescue his government.