Thursday, July 29, 2021

Did Zahid mislead Agong that Umno ministers would quit by Aug 1?

The Umno president is also actively pressuring his party men to quit the Cabinet by next week.

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Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi misled the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in claiming during an audience at Istana Negara last month that ministers and deputy ministers had pledged to quit the government by Aug 1, MalaysiaNow can reveal.

It is also learnt that the Umno president is now actively trying to get ministers from his party to resign from their posts at an earlier date.

“He is targeting July 7 as the new deadline for them to resign, but he is in for a disappointment,” said a source familiar with discussions among senior Umno MPs.

In a statement today, Putrajaya said a Cabinet meeting on July 7 would fix a date for a special sitting to decide on the reopening of Parliament.

Ministers deny Zahid’s claim

MalaysiaNow has meanwhile learnt that Zahid, in a briefing to the Umno leadership after the audience at Istana Negara on June 11, had read from a prepared text of what he told Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Among others, Zahid informed the Agong that the Umno Supreme Council had decided to quit the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government by Aug 1, irrespective of whether the state of emergency would be extended.

“According to Zahid, he told the Agong that all ministers and deputy ministers, as well as MPs and GLC bosses, had also pledged to resign by that time,” said a source who was privy to what transpired at the meeting.

But conversations with several Umno Cabinet members revealed that there was no such pledge “whether written or verbal” from them.

“Zahid clearly spoke untruth to the Agong,” one minister told MalaysiaNow on condition of strict anonymity.

Even Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, the Umno Supreme Council member who is also the energy and natural resources minister, was cryptic when responding to news of Umno’s decision to exit the government by Aug 1.

“At the moment I remain focused on carrying out responsibilities. And my principles are the same. I will abide by the party’s decision as long as it does not veer from Umno’s ideology and principles,” Shamsul said in remarks posted on Facebook today.

A former aide to an Umno leader said Shamsul’s message was an indirect hint to Zahid that he would not support the party president.

“What he is saying is that Zahid had acted against the party’s principles of not working with DAP or Anwar Ibrahim,” he added, referring to Zahid’s now-famous endorsement of the PKR leader’s bid to become prime minister.

In his Facebook post, Shamsul further said: “In fact, I’m not worried about losing my position. What I am worried about is Umno losing support.”

Shamsul was the only minister from Umno who had stated his readiness to quit his Cabinet post, after Zahid openly called for Umno to revoke its support for the PN government during the party’s general assembly in March.

Zahid’s royal audience last month was one in a series of meetings called by the Agong with political party leaders.

It was followed by statements by the Agong and Malay rulers pressing for Parliament to reconvene as soon as possible, a call which triggered a debate on the powers of the Agong under the constitution.

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