KUALA LUMPUR - Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin has said that he will remain with the party despite his suspension last week, and he will challenge his suspension from within.
"There has been an issue about whether I'll be in Umno. the answer is I will stay on in Umno," Tan Sri Muhyiddin said at a press conference on Thursday (March 3).
"The issue of whether or not I stay or leave should not be raised. I've never said I wanted to leave. Ever since I became an Umno member in the 1970's, it was never about whom did I join the party for.
"I'll stay on to fight the party's evil from within," the former deputy prime minister added.
Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal and former Kedah chief minister Mukhriz Mahathir also made an appearance, flanking Mr Muhyiddin at the press conference in Bukit Damansara.
Mr Muhyiddin said he would challenge his suspension via the Registrar of Societies - the government dept that handles all groups or parties that are registered - and vowed to keep on voicing his opinion, "more vigorously than before".
"Just because I plan to stay on in Umno doesn't mean I won't do anything. Our fight is not over," he added.
Mr Muhyiddin also griped that the suspension was not done according to proper procedure, meaning via a disciplinary committee.
He said that since he was sacked from the Cabinet, he has been left out of his party duties, and it's unfair for him to be accused of not doing his job by the Umno Supreme Council's leadership committee, which was a reason given for his suspension.
"I've been blocked. To say that I've not done my duties is an irresponsible claim."
Asked when he would submit his paper to the registrar, asking it to look into whether or not his suspension was done according to procedure, he said, "very soon".
Datuk Shafie said there's a process to follow before any suspension, and questioned why Mr Muhyiddin was not called to answer for himself before the decision was made to suspend him.
Mr Muhyiddin also refuted claims that he is part of a conspiracy to topple the Prime Minister.
"There's no conspiracy," he said. "If MACC (the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) has presented its report, how is it that the AG (attorney-general) can say there's no case?"
Mr Shafie added that asking questions does not mean wanting to destroy the party.
Datuk Seri Mukhriz said that he too will stay in Umno and fight it from within, despite his recent ousting from the Kedah chief minister post.
He also said his decision to stay does not clash with the decision of his father, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, to quit the party earlier this week.
Mr Muhyiddin was overseas when the Umno Supreme Council suspended him as deputy president on Feb 26. saying he had failed to support party president Najib Razak.
But the council decided to keep Mr Muhyiddin's status as Pagoh Umno chief.
The suspension is effective until the next Umno elections, which is set to be in 2018. Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also deputy prime minister, has taken over the role.
Mr Muhyiddin was sacked from the Cabinet on July 28, 2015, along with Rural Development Minister Shafie.