A key aide of Muhyiddin Yassin has given a glimpse of a breakfast conversation he had with the prime minister a day before his resignation brought down his 18-month government in the midst of the pandemic.
Marzuki Mohamad, the prime minister’s political secretary, said he was initially shocked when told by Muhyiddin that he was prepared to back Umno’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob for the top post.
“How could this man nominate as PM candidate a person from the party which had just booted him out from that coveted position?” Marzuki wrote, saying they had a “little argument” about the matter.
“But he looked set to do what he believed was right.”
He said Muhyiddin was worried that if he did not support a prime ministerial candidate, the political turmoil would continue.
“The only thing he asked me was whether it was constitutional. I told him, ‘Yes, sir. It is constitutional’.
“Then he said to me, ‘Call Ismail to see me at 11am’.”
Marzuki said he admired the magnanimity shown by Muhyiddin, adding that he planned to detail the full conversation in a future memoir.
Ismail was among the Umno leaders and Cabinet members who had refused to join their party bosses Najib Razak and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in campaigning for Muhyiddin’s ouster by revoking their support for him.
Najib and Zahid are part of the so-called court cluster group made up of Umno leaders who were part of the Barisan Nasional government before its downfall in 2018.
Yesterday, Muhyiddin, who is the Perikatan Nasional chairman, confirmed that Ismail had the support of 50 MPs under his coalition as long as the Umno vice-president was committed to a clean government and upholding judicial independence.
Muhyiddin had repeatedly said he was forced to step down due to a group of “kleptocrats” who plotted against him to escape trial.
MalaysiaNow previously reported in detail how Zahid had approached Muhyiddin in a bid to get his charges dropped.