KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — 15 Umno MPs including former vice president Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein have denied discussing plans to defect from the party following their meeting with a Cabinet minister on Monday.
They issued a statement similar to seven MPs last night disputing claims by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the MPs met with Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali because they are “lost” and are in need of a new political party.
“As stated by the seven Umno MPs yesterday, we deny claims that we have lost our direction and sought Azmin’s guidance at the meeting.
“We can also confirm that none of us discussed this matter. In fact, the meeting was to discuss issues in our respective constituencies, and for people-related issues to be fulfilled (by the minister),” said the MPs.
The 15 who signed the statement were Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Arau), Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Pengerang), Datuk Jalaluddin Alias (Jelebu), Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Padang Besar), Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad (Lipis), Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (Sembrong), Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said (Kuala Krau), Datuk Salim Sharif (Jempol), Datuk Hasbullah Osman (Grik), Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit), Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid (Kuala Kangsar), Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah (Jasin), Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib (Maran), Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Jerantut), and Ramli Mohd Nor (Cameron Highlands).
Yesterday, seven of the MPs released a statement saying they wanted Azmin to join Umno and not the other way around.
The 15 also invited Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders who are unhappy with the government to instead join Umno, saying they can build the nation together.
They insisted that they did not discuss with Azmin the issue of transition of power between Dr Mahathir and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir claimed that the MPs told Azmin that they have lost direction and are seeking to join other parties.
Anwar had previously asked Azmin to clarify his meeting with them.
Azmin has since downplayed the meeting by saying that it was a normal meeting and that he is open to anyone who wants to meet him.
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