Umno MP says quit as MPOB chairman on principle, wasn’t coerced

Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub said he resigned as the Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman yesterday out of principle. — Bernama pic
Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub said he resigned as the Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman yesterday out of principle. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — Machang MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub said he resigned as the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman yesterday out of principle.

He said it was also due in part to the push from Umno Kelantan grassroots members for the party to end political cooperation with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

“My resignation was not forced, nor was I influenced by any other individuals or parties. I did so simply because it was the appropriate thing to do,” Ahmad Jazlan said during an interview on NR Channel TV.

Speaking to moderator Mohammad Rafi Awang Kechik, he said the genesis of his decision began in the middle of last year when the Kelantan Umno’s branches and divisions meetings were being held.

“I monitored the situation in my capacity as Umno Kelantan liaison committee chairman, particularly paying attention to the opinion of the grassroots members and what they think of political conditions today.

“In Kelantan, there are 14 divisions. With the exception of Tanah Merah which could not hold its meeting due to being suspended, all 13 others managed to meet and discuss. Remarkably, it is coincidental that 12 of the 13 divisions had the same narrative to be put forward as motions,” Ahmad Jazlan said.

The primary motion the branches and divisions pushed for was that Umno needed to sever its political cooperation with Bersatu, which he said included members of his own division in Machang.

“As the state liaison chief, I am confident in the awareness that my appointment as MPOB chairman was politically-motivated. Thus, I was confronted with two choices, either my position and rank as chairman, or my duty and responsibility to Umno by heeding the grassroots.

“So once I had managed to get my affairs in order yesterday, I left Kelantan to meet with the plantation industries and commodities minister (Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali) at his office. But I understand he was caught en route to KL due to the floods, so I handed in my resignation letter to his officer,” Ahmad Jazlan said.

He added that no one else aside from his family members knew of his intent to resign, and that he only informed the press once the letter was handed over.

“One cannot ignore the fact that my appointment was politically-based, since Bersatu’s president and the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appointed me to the post. For me, it was a matter of safeguarding Umno’s principles and honour.

“Essentially it is a matter of putting principles ahead of any political considerations. I would have made the same decision even if it was a ministerial post, let alone as the head of a GLC,” Ahmad Jazlan said.

He previously served as rural and regional development deputy minister, alongside Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi, from 2013 to 2018.

When asked if Umno was disregarding public safety by pushing for a premature general election, Ahmad Jazlan countered by saying that it is for the rakyat’s sake that Umno is calling for elections to be held.

“What we see today is an unstable government, whose majority is too small. Not only does it increase uneasiness, but the matter of confidence is also at stake.

“I refer to the confidence of others abroad, as seen with the drop in the foreign direct investment. Investors will not want to come here, due to the unstable government situation,” he said.

Ahmad Jazlan’s resignation comes into effect today. He was reported as saying that he was ready to resign as MPOB chairman should the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government not dissolve Parliament by the end of this month.

Earlier today, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he will heed any directive from Umno’s Supreme Council with regards to the party’s current position within PN.

He added that he would quit his Cabinet post if the council orders him to do so.

Most of the party’s divisions nationwide conducted their annual delegates meeting from Friday to Sunday (January 1 to 3) in which the motion to reject cooperation with Bersatu in the 15th general election was adopted.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Supreme Council will meet tomorrow, with the party’s annual general meeting expected to take place by the end of the month where the motion will be discussed.