Strange hour and place for a meeting dismissed as “nothing important”.
- Zahid: Meeting to discuss projects in MPs’ constituencies
- PKR MP Kamaruddin: Meeting to discuss country’s futures and the need for national unity
- Azmin: That was a normal meeting, nothing extraordinary
Last night’s meeting between Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs and Mohamed Azmin Ali was to discuss government projects in their constituencies, said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Umno president said news of the meeting at the economic affairs minister’s Putrajaya home has upset the grassroots and supporters, fresh from BN’s big win in the Tanjung Piai by-election on Saturday.
“I got information that the meeting yesterday was for the MPs to discuss with the minister about projects in their constituencies,” he said at the Kuala Lumpur court complex, where his criminal trial is being heard.
“The meeting has led to a negative perception among the people.”
Such meets should be attended by all opposition parliamentarians, and not just those from one faction, he said.
“These meetings need to be done en bloc. They need to be held in Parliament. It would look better that way.
“The Umno Supreme Council has already decided that any decisions by MPs from the party must be done en bloc.”
Zahid said Umno’s disciplinary board has received complaints about the meeting, adding that the party’s top leaders will leave it to the board to decide on the appropriate action against the lawmakers who were at Azmin’s home.
He warned that Umno will not compromise with members who work either privately or publicly with any government faction.
“This is the party’s official stand. We hope there won’t be any attempts to not adhere to the disciplinary board’s decision.”
It is speculated that the BN lawmakers were at Azmin’s house for a meeting to stop attempts to force Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad from office.
Among the MPs was Hishammuddin Hussein. It has been said that the former Umno vice-president is linked to efforts to get his party men to join Pakatan Harapan (PH).
The meeting started about 9.30pm and lasted two hours.
Those who left the house kept mum on what was discussed.
PKR MP Kamaruddin Jaafar says the meeting was to discuss the country’s future and the need for national unity, among others.
“Nothing important,” Kamaruddin, who had attended the meeting himself, told reporters in Parliament today.
The Bandar Tun Razak MP added that they had also spoken about the need for calm, and to reduce politicking among politicians and to focus on development and political stability.
He said MPs were also briefed about the Shared Prosperity Vision, mooted by the government before the 2020 Budget.
He denied that the gathering was only attended by MPs from BN, adding that they had spoken to MPs from other parties as well.
He also denied attempts to gather support for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to complete the full term as prime minister following PH’s dismal performance in the Tanjung Piai by-election.
He added that it was no secret that Umno and PAS supported this.
“Haven’t Umno and PAS come out with a statement (in support of Mahathir) several times?”
Kamaruddin claimed 17 BN parliamentarians were present.
As for the host, he downplayed the meeting saying there was nothing extraordinary about it.
Azmin also could not recall who initiated the meeting, which had set tongues wagging.
“I don’t remember who asked (for the meeting). Whoever asks, I meet (them).
“Just like this, when the media asks, no insists, I meet (the media). No problem,” he added when met in Parliament this afternoon.
Below is the transcript of the questions from reporters and Azmin’s answers:
Reporter: A lot of people are concerned about last night’s meeting
Azmin: Don’t listen to rumours.
Reporter: The meeting last night…
Azmin: Which one? I’ve got so many meetings.
Reporter: The meeting at your house last night with all the BN MPs.
Azmin: MPs ah? Oh…
Reporter: Yes, a lot of people are asking what the meeting was about.
Azmin: You should ask them, why must you ask me?
Reporter: Because the meeting was at your house.
Azmin: I meet ‘semua‘ (everyone)
Reporter: Yesterday’s meeting…
Azmin: Yesterday? Which one? Morning, evening, afternoon…
Reporter: The meeting in Putrajaya at night…
Azmin: That was a normal meeting. Nothing extraordinary… I take an open approach, whoever wants to meet me, I meet with them. I meet with the people, business community, MPs whether from PH or not from PH.
Because it is important for a government which is concerned about the people to obtain feedback from the people, from the business community on the acceptance of government policies.
This is not something extraordinary, which is to be made into a big issue. I meet with various quarters daily.
Reporter: Will there be other meetings of such nature?
Azmin: Every day. I have many meetings every day from early morning till late hours. But different people, different groups, there are politicians, MPs, business leaders, foreign investors. That is the job of the ministry. I have to meet people.