'No-confidence vote against Najib will be futile'

KUALA LUMPUR - Any attempt to push for a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be futile, Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said.

Shahrir, who is Barisan Nasional Back Benchers Club (BNBBC) chairman, said Najib could not be ousted using such a move, as former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Moha­mad pointed out in his chedet.cc blog posting.

"It is a wise statement by Tun," he told a press conference in Parlia­ment yesterday.

Shahrir said that the Opposition would not be able to garner the support of Barisan MPs if such a motion was tabled.

The Dewan Rakyat has 132 MPs from Barisan, 37 from DAP, 28 from PKR, 19 from PAS, and one each from PSM and Teras, and four Independents.

On Monday, Dr Mahathir had said that it would be impossible to oust Najib by a vote of no confidence.

He reasoned that a no-confidence vote was "very difficult" as almost all of the Umno members were beholden to Najib and that the Opposition did not have enough members to get it through.

Shahrir added that talk of a plot was akin to speculation created by the Opposition of a crossover by Barisan MPs after the 2008 general election.

On Datuk Seri Azalina Othman's proposal for anti-party hopping laws to be introduced, Shahrir said BNBBC would look into the propo­sal once the details were made clear.

On a separate issue, Shahrir said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should reveal the Umno leader behind the alleged plot to topple the Govern­ment.

"Talk of a plot started after Dr Ahmad Zahid raised the matter recently, causing speculation and claims that Umno MPs may be behind the so-called plot.

"Because of this claim, others started their own speculation," he said.

Shahrir, who was repeatedly asked if Dr Ahmad Zahid should reveal the identity of the Umno leader, said: "You have to ask him (Dr Ahmad Zahid), we are not involved in the alleged plot."

However, Shahrir, who is also Umno supreme council member, added that the affected MPs would seek clarification from Dr Ahmad Zahid and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a retreat programme next week with the BNBBC.

Last Saturday, Dr Ahmad Zahid told an Umno division gathering that a leading Umno figure was be­­hind a plot to topple the Government by working with Opposition MPs and pushing for a vote of no confidence against Najib.

On Monday, a blog called "Suara Hati" listed names and pictures of 20 Barisan lawmakers as "the usual sus­­pects" in the alleged plot but those named have denied their invol­vement and several of them have also made reports against the blog.

Earlier, Shahrir and 34 Umno lawmakers denied the speculation and voiced undivided support for the Government and Najib's admi­nistration.