PETALING JAYA - Several Umno division leaders were tight-lipped on Wednesday (Oct 28) after a report claimed there was a plot to oust Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and a group of his supporters.
Malay daily Sinar Harian on Wednesday reported Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Jamal Yunos as saying there was a plot to get rid of Muhyiddin and some other Umno leaders. According to the report, more than a hundred Umno division chiefs had attended closed-door talks on the plans to remove Muhyiddin.
"There could be a plot, I don't know. I can't tell you. If there is, then there is," Kepong Umno division chief Datuk Rizuan Hamid was quoted saying by The Star.
The plans were also discussed in a Telegram chat group comprising Umno division heads, but Jamal said he was puzzled as to how the matter was leaked to the media.
When contacted by The Star, Jamal said there was indeed a move to get rid of a group within the party but never mentioned Muhyiddin by name. "If he thinks that he's one of them, then it could be," he said.
Muhyiddin was dropped by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak from his role as Deputy Prime Minister in July. His removal from Cabinet came after he raised uncomfortable questions about a financial scandal involving Datuk Seri Najib and the troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) state investment fund.
Earlier this month, Muhyiddin made a rare public appearance with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to condemn the arrest of two men who had approached foreign investigators with documents about 1MDB.
Although both Jamal and Rizuan did not refer to any individual, both took the opportunity to lash out at Muhyiddin for labelling grassroots leaders as "cowards".
"Muhyiddin's the one who is causing problems. He is the coward, not us. He wouldn't have been elected as deputy president if it weren't for us," said Rizuan,
At a forum held in Johor Bahru last week, Muhyiddin had called Umno leaders "cowards" for not speaking up.
Rizuan said the former deputy prime minister should have used proper channels in criticising the leadership, instead of an open forum.
Sharing the same sentiment, Jamal said Muhyiddin was a "hypocrite" for badmouthing the leadership outside the party.
Jasin Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Hamzah, however, said he was not aware of such a move to oust Muhyiddin.
"No I don't know anything about that," he said.