Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should not be stripped off his position as the Umno deputy president as he was democratically elected by party members.
Outspoken Umno leader Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee said the party must be fair to Muhyiddin, as he had not done anything to tarnish the party.
"He was chosen in the party's general assembly. The people in the party have given him the mandate until the 2018 party election," he told the press here Wednesday.
The Cheras Umno division chief said this amid speculation that the party's supreme council, which will meet Friday, would take disciplinary action against Muhyiddin.
Muhyiddin, who has been a critic of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), was dropped as deputy prime minister Tuesday, in a cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The sudden move came two days after Muhyiddin reportedly questioned Najib's handling in the financially-troubled state investment arm during a closing speech at Cheras Umno's division meeting on Sunday.
The Prime Minister said Cabinet members should go through the proper channel to voice out their criticism, and not in a public forum.
But Syed Ali said Muhyiddin was merely conveying the people's grouses from the ground and he did it out of love for the party.
"He definitely loves the party, but it was unfortunate that the sacking was triggered by his speech held at my division," he said.
Syed Ali stressed that while he was not defending Muhyiddin, he believed the speech was made to strengthen the party.
"So, what is the basis if they want to suspend him? His sacking as a deputy prime minister is already a punishment. We shouldn't create further rifts in the party," he said.
He also said this was the first time that a deputy president of Umno was not holding any ministerial post.
By convention, Umno's president and deputy president are the prime minister and deputy prime minister.
Despite his apparent backing of Muhyiddin, Syed Ali maintained that he was neither in the camp of Najib nor Muhyiddin, but a strong supporter to the party as a whole.
"I am a party man and I love my party. I will not do anything that will destroy the party by provoking anybody," he said.
Syed Ali said his presence at Muhyiddin's residence Tuesday night should not be construed as a protest against Muhyiddin's removal.
"I did not have a vested interest when I paid him a visit last night. All these leaders are my friends. Doesn't mean one is sacked, we have to boycott him.
"He is still the deputy president of the party and I have done nothing wrong by visiting him," he said.
Muhyiddin has said he would stay on as the deputy president.