Nazri admits he is the “mastermind” behind SDs from BN MPs in support of Hisham.
Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz claims that a majority of BN’s 42 lawmakers have lost confidence in coalition chairperson Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Nazri said that 25 declarations were signed giving Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein the mandate to speak on behalf of BN to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
However, Nazri, as reported by Sinar Harian, said the move was not intended to trigger a change of prime minister, as alleged by some, but merely to give a mandate to Hishammuddin to be the spokesman for 25 BN MPs should they be called before the Agong.
“When I found out the king wanted to meet party leaders, I didn’t trust Zahid anymore.
“In October, Zahid gave misleading information to the Agong that BN MPs supported (PKR president) Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.
“I trust Hishammuddin to tell the truth that we don’t support Anwar or DAP,” Nazri said.
He declined to disclose how many cabinet members signed the declaration.
He also said the declaration was not meant to support Hishammuddin as prime minister.
In October last year, Zahid allegedly signed a letter to the king pledging support for Anwar.
Zahid’s office claimed the letter was fake, but former Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa said otherwise.
The Umno supreme council and general assembly had affirmed the party’s stance not to support Anwar as prime minister.
However, speculation is rife that Anwar had submitted to the king a list of 115 MPs who allegedly support his claim to Putrajaya during his meeting with the monarch on June 9.
Sinar Harian quoted an Umno supreme council source as claiming that some of the names on the purported Anwar list were also on the list of MPs backing Hishammuddin as their spokesperson.
Asked why he picked Hishammuddin to be their representative, Nazri said it was because they needed a leader whom they felt could have the Agong’s ear.
Hishammuddin’s wife Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah is the Agong’s cousin.
The foreign minister is speculated to be pro-Bersatu, while Nazri has been a vocal critic of the party.
Asked how two opposites could unite against Zahid, Nazri said that this was a party matter.
“For me, it is a party matter. The Umno general assembly has decided, no Anwar no DAP,” he said.
Nazri added that his stance on Bersatu has not changed but stressed that the general assembly also decided that ties with Bersatu would only end during the 15th general election (GE15).
“I’m a party man, the AGM decided to end ties in GE15, so not now lah,” he said.
Previously in 2018, Nazri as then BN secretary-general had tried to lobby support for Anwar – in an effort to save Umno from being dissolved.
“At the time, I felt I needed to be close to the next PM, and then coax him not to dissolve Umno.
“Because (then prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was set on dissolving us,” he said.
However, Nazri said support for Anwar was no longer necessary once Umno joined the government.
“I’m now comfortable that Umno will never be dissolved,” he added.
When asked, Nazri stressed that he was not aware of an attempt to collect the signatures of MPs from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) camp.
“I don’t know about that. Our movement is only to explain the real stance of BN MPs to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and reject support for Anwar to become the prime minister,” he said.
Sinar Harian further reported that a source from the Umno MKT as revealing that the PH camp led by Anwar himself is understood to have also attempted to collect signatures for an SD backing him to become the prime minister.
The Malay daily said the SD was then presented by the Port Dickson MP to the Agong during his audience with His Majesty at Istana Negara.
“I understand that Anwar presented the SD containing the signatures of 115 MPs, including Umno MPs, to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in the hopes of being appointed as the new prime minister.
“However, we were informed that Istana Negara then verified the SD and found that there was an overlap in the signatures of many MPs with another SD submitted by Hishammuddin.
“Simply put, the movement to collect another SD from government MPs is actually aimed at defending Muhyiddin and preventing Anwar’s ambitions from becoming prime minister,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.
Meanwhile, former minister Zaid Ibrahim questioned Nazri’s position, saying the latter was confused.
“BN MPs can individually vote for Hisham as PM but to speak on behalf of BN it has to be done by leaders of Umno, MCA and MIC if they are still part of BN.
“There exists in our parliamentary rules the position of party leader and the party whip.
“The monarch usually does not get involved with those who wish to break ranks with the party leader or party whip. That’s why the monarch normally speaks to PM (as leader of the House) and or to the opposition leader,” said Zaid who preceded Nazri as de facto law minister.
“Hisham is not leader of the party. Period. The fact that he might have majority support in the House is relevant only when he becomes a PM candidate,” Zaid told Malaysiakini.