Malaysia was abuzz yesterday with talk of a plot to unseat the government and with Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi on the warpath, vowing that any such attempt through backdoor methods would succeed only "over the dead bodies of Umno members".
He also said the Umno leader allegedly leading the plot would meet Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Datuk Seri Zahid, who on Saturday made the bombshell claim that an Umno leader was involved in the plot, appeared to have backing from party vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said it was a serious matter and that Mr Zahid would not have brought it up without facts and basis to convince people, especially Umno members.
No name has been mentioned but sacked deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah have been gauging support for their leadership from across the political divide. Mr Muhyiddin, who is Umno deputy president, has clearly stated that he would not topple the government while Tengku Razaleigh has acknowledged meeting former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, a trenchant critic of Datuk Seri Najib.
Party vice-president Mohd Shafie Apdal, who was dropped from the Cabinet along with Mr Muhyiddin recently, also urged swift action against any party member involved in the movement to topple the government. "If it is proven that there are party members who are involved (in the movement) and it violates the law, then action can be taken because we must understand the democratic system and there are certain regulations that we must adhere to," he said.
Yesterday, Mr Zahid said the Umno leader had attempted to get politicians from both sides of the political divide to sign a statutory declaration to oust Mr Najib through a vote of no confidence during the October federal parliamentary sitting.
"The statutory declaration has already been prepared and it needs the signatures of not just the 87 opposition MPs, but also one from Barisan Nasional (BN), and they are targeting another 37 BN MPs," he was quoted as saying. BN is the ruling coalition, helmed by Umno.
"I don't want to say who is the leader involved. I did not mention names yesterday and I won't today too," Mr Zahid said at the opening of an Umno divisional meeting in Negeri Sembilan. "There are still people who are denying any plot to topple the government but, God willing, that Umno member has already realised what he has committed is wrong and he will meet our Umno president ."
Meanwhile, BN strategic communications director Abdul Rahman Dahlan in an interview with
The Star yesterday said the draft charge sheet of a corruption charge against Mr Najib, uploaded by Sarawak Report, may have existed. He also added that the multi-agency special taskforce probing 1Malaysia Development Berhad was "illegally constituted".
"They were not supposed to be investigating the PM or any individual for that matter."