PETALING JAYA: Several Umno MPs who met Mohamed Azmin Ali earlier this week have refuted claims that they said their party has lost its direction and had asked if they should defect to another party.
In a joint statement, the MPs, including former minister Azalina Othman, said they only discussed various issues with the PKR deputy president.
This included development projects in their constituency as well as the Barisan Nasional’s recent victory in the Tanjung Piai by-election.
“With such a huge win, we invited Azmin to join Umno as the rakyat now have more faith in Umno and the BN,” they said.
Besides Azalina, the statement was signed by Ismail Mohamed Said (Kuala Krau), Salim Sharif (Jempol), Jalaluddin Alias (Jelebu), Ramli Mohd Nor (Cameron Highlands), Abdul Rahman Mohamad (Lipis) and Mastura Mohd Yazid (Kuala Kangsar).
The seven also reiterated that they will remain with Umno.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad revealed that Azmin had told him that the MPs he had met complained that the party had lost its direction.
Mahathir told reporters that the Umno MPs told Azmin they were unsure as to what they should do next and asked if they should defect to another party.
He said some of these MPs told Azmin they supported his (Mahathir’s) leadership.
Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, meanwhile, said Azmin’s claim was defamatory and that he could be hauled to court.
“He gave the impression that those involved are traitors who were disloyal and had lost faith in the party,” he tweeted, adding he was sure that those who met the economic affairs minister were loyal party members.
Annuar then trained his guns on Azmin, claiming he had arranged for the meet to pander to the prime minister in order to “save himself”.
“Why must you slander your guests? You invite them to your home and then you slander them. You are the person with the problem.”
Azmin was reported to have met 22 Umno MPs, including Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein, and a few PKR MPs at his official residence in Putrajaya on Monday night.
It was speculated that Azmin was attempting to thwart any move to pressure Mahathir from quitting following PH’s defeat in the Tanjung Piai by-election on Saturday.
Azmin, however, said his meeting with the MPs was part of his engagement with the business community as well as MPs to get feedback on government policies.