Muhyiddin may not be allowed to address joint opening of party's wings

PHOTO: The Star/ANN

PETALING JAYA - Speculation is mounting in Umno that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pictured) may not be allowed to address the joint opening of the party's three wings at the Umno general assembly next month.

The Umno convention where the deputy president delivers the policy speech before the party's Wanita, Youth and Puteri may not continue this year given the controversial circumstances surrounding Muhyiddin.

According to an Umno insider, there is pressure behind the scenes for disciplinary action against Muhyiddin, vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Moh­amad whose action and statements are seen as detrimental to the party.

However, according to the party insider, any move towards a disciplinary investigation will have to start from within the Umno supreme council, which is the highest decision-making body in the party.

"Due process will be taken in the event of any disciplinary move but those holding posts may be asked to take leave," said the insider.

The Umno supreme council is scheduled to meet by the end of this month while the general assembly will kick off on Dec 8 with the opening of the three wings.

The momentum against Muhyid­din began after an internal survey showed that 75 per cent of the Umno division heads want the supreme council to act against party leaders whose statements and actions have damaged the party.

The poll conducted via the Telegram chat group comprising only division chiefs showed that 154 of the 170 leaders who took part in the survey wanted action against the culprits regardless of their position or status in the party.

The division chiefs chat group have grown into quite an influential opinion group in the party and is said to have the ear of Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

There have been suggestions by some of the division leaders that either Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or Najib himself should address the three wings this year.

Muhyiddin, who was sacked from his Cabinet posts in July, has continued to criticise Najib's involvement in the 1MDB issue.

He had also appeared on the same platform as Dr Mahathir who has vowed that he will not stop asking Najib to resign as Prime Minister.

More recently, Muhyiddin was reported to have approached the G25, a group of ageing but moderate-minded Malaysians, to work with a Chinese group that is critical of Najib.

Not all the supreme council members, however, are comfortable with the idea of acting against Muhyiddin.

They see it as an "overkill" and they say that it is not their priority.

Moreover, there has been a precedent in the 1980s when Tun Musa Hitam quit as deputy prime minister but was allowed to address the general assembly in his capacity as deputy president.

Najib's position in Umno is rock solid especially after the Parliament vote count over the Budget Bill which the opposition bench had tried to portray as sort of no-confidence vote against him.

It was passed with 128 votes from Barisan Nasional against 74 from the opposition bench which was made up of Pakatan Harapan and Pakatan Rakyat.

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