A group of Barisan Nasional MPs attended a meeting with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali last night in what is believed to be an attempt to thwart moves to force the departure of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
- Lokman Adam accuses Hisham of luring Umno men to Bersatu, demands action
- Umno to haul up its lawmakers who attended meeting with Azmin
- Hisham denies allegations he planned the meeting
The gathering was held at Azmin’s home in Putrajaya. Members of the media were camped outside, taking photos of the stream of cars seen entering the vicinity.
Among the attendees were former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein and around two dozen other Barisan MPs, as well as several PKR MPs.
It was reported that at least 22 BN MPs and five PKR MPs were at the meeting.
There were multiple vehicles outside Azmin’s house, including a white Toyota Alphard and several black Proton Perdanas, while multiple bodyguards and police personnel were in the area.
Spotted among the vehicles were those of Umno MPs Mastura Mohd Yazid (Kuala Kangsar), Abdul Rahman Mohamad (Lipis) and Ismail Abd Muttalib (Maran).
The meeting began at around 9.30pm and lasted for about two hours.
BN MPs leaving the property were tight-lipped on the purpose of their visit to the bungalow which sits by the Putrajaya Lake with a view of the Seri Perdana Complex, which is also the prime minister’s official residence.
One of them who was seen walking out of the compound was BN’s Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor.
When quizzed about the meeting, he merely said: “It’s nothing”.
Two PKR MPs were spotted – Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang) and Deputy Transport Minister Kamaruddin Jaffar (Bandar Tun Razak).
Zuraida merely waved at journalists but did not comment.
A catering van was also spotted leaving the residence at 10.40 pm.
The meeting comes in the wake of Pakatan Harapan’s disastrous outing at the Tanjung Piai by-election on Saturday, when the BN candidate, Wee Jeck Seng of MCA was elected by an overwhelming majority of 15,086 votes.
Immediately after the election, political commentators began calling for Mahathir to make way for PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, as agreed by Pakatan Harapan before the 2018 general election.
The gathering was part of a continuing behind-the-scenes struggle between Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim, and between Anwar and Azmin.
Mahathir has been vague when he would hand over power to Anwar, as agreed before the 2018 general election, while Anwar has maintained that he would take over within the two years of Pakatan Harapan gaining control of the federal government.
Azmin, who has been at odds with Anwar, has been seen to be favoured by Mahathir, who chose him to be Economic Affairs Minister while he was menteri besar of Selangor.
Pressure on Mahathir to hand over power has escalated immediately after the Tanjung Piai by-election results were announced on Saturday, with a flurry of political commentators laying the blame for the defeat squarely on Mahathir’s lap.
According to political blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a group of pro-Anwar supporters met on Friday night, the eve of the by-election, to discuss efforts to force Mahathir out.
He said: “Let us see whether these 30 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament will agree to support Mahathir against Anwar in the Mahathir-Anwar power-struggle for the post of Prime Minister of Malaysia”.
Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam said Hishammuddin has betrayed the party after attending a meeting with BN and PKR lawmakers behind the party’s back,
The meeting is also a betrayal of the BN coalition and PAS, which signed a pact on political cooperation with Umno, Lokman said.
More so after BN had just won the Tg Piai by-election on Saturday, he said in a statement.
“Hishammuddin once again betrayed Malaysians, especially those who voted in Tg Piai two to three days ago for BN to win the seat.
“What is his excuse when he led 22 BN MPs to Azmin’s house in Putrajaya last night?”
“BN and PAS are surely disappointed with Hishammuddin’s betrayal,” Lokman said.
Lokman also claimed Hishammuddin had been acting as a “middleman” for Mahathir, who is the Bersatu chairperson.
“Before this, Hishammuddin acted as Mahathir’s middleman to recruit Umno MPs into Bersatu, but he did not face disciplinary action.
“Every time he (Hishammuddin) was questioned on why he is inciting Umno MPs to join Bersatu, he would claim that he was actually trying to prevent them from joining Bersatu,” he said.
Lokman said he had on Oct 30 lodged a disciplinary complaint against Hishammuddin.
“I call for the investigation to be expedited and disciplinary action taken against those who influence Umno MPs and leaders to support Mahathir or Azmin, which would disappoint the people’s hope to see Parliament dissolved.
“Hishammuddin’s action goes against the Umno supreme council decision, which has decided that it will not cooperate with any Harapan party.
“I hope no one would continue to defend Hishammuddin’s betrayal. The party must take stern action,” Lokman added.
Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa when contacted today declined to comment but said he did not receive any invitation to such a meeting.
“This is now a disciplinary issue for the party, as a secretary-general I can’t comment,” he was quoted as saying.
“I was not invited but I am not sure about the others. If it is true, I need to know the meeting is for what purpose. I will ask. No one invited me. I am a pro-Umno.”
Umno’s disciplinary board today said it was ready to receive complaints against its MPs who attended a meeting with Azmin last night and promised a fair investigation.
The board’s chief Mohamed Apandi Ali also pledged immediate action based on existing procedures.
The PH secretariat previously issued a public statement accusing Hishammuddin of seeking to engineer the expulsion of DAP and Amanah from the government.
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin has denied allegations that he planned the meeting last night.
“Allegations that I led (an opposition delegation) during a meeting with Azmin last night is not true. I didn’t plan that meeting.
“However, if the Umno disciplinary board wants to investigate me, I am ready to be investigated. I have nothing to hide,” he wrote on Twitter today.
However, Hishammuddin did not volunteer the identity of the organiser.
Those involved in the meeting have refused to divulge what was discussed and tried to play it off as a casual encounter.