'Nothing unusual' at Umno meeting

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak speaking at the UMNO annual assembly in 2014.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak speaking at the UMNO annual assembly in 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR • Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday called a meeting of the high-level political bureau in his ruling Umno party, triggering speculation that this was a prelude to the sacking of two of his chief critics in the party, deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin and vice-president Shafie Apdal.

Yesterday's meeting, the first political bureau meeting held after the two were removed from their Cabinet posts, ended with no official statements.

But Malaysiakini quoted a party insider as saying that political bureau members "discussed the current political affairs and related developments".

"There was no specific agenda and nothing unusual happened," the party insider said of the meeting, which lasted about an hour at the Prime Minister's Department.

The report did not say whether Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Shafie attended the meeting.

The two Najib critics were removed as deputy prime minister and minister respectively in a sudden Cabinet reshuffle in July.

This came after they criticised Datuk Seri Najib, who is Umno president, over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal and US$700 million (S$990 million) in "political donations" deposited into his personal bank accounts.

Rumours have been swirling that both men and a few others might be sacked when Umno's Supreme Council holds its long-delayed meeting tomorrow. Two meetings scheduled for July and last month were cancelled.

There have already been calls for new Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to  replace Mr Muhyiddin as Umno's No. 2.

"It is only fitting that the deputy prime minister is also the Umno deputy president," deputy minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said at the weekend.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline ''Nothing unusual' at Umno meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe