Umno quashes rumours of Selangor coup

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal and Boo Su-Lyn
Abdul Rahman said that it was 'pointless' to engineer a political coup in Selangor so close to the 14th general election. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Umno has denied claims that Selangor PKR and PAS assemblymen were to follow Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib in joining the Malay nationalist party, ending speculation on the matter.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said that it was "pointless" to engineer a political coup in Selangor so close to the 14th general election, and that mass defections had never been discussed during the party's leadership meetings.

"There is no reason to have a political coup at this juncture, when the general election is just months way. This is speculation.

"There announcement on Sunday was just to announce Mat Taib's return to Umno, nothing else," he told Malay Mail Online.

"Logically if the press conference as meant to be about more defections and only Mat Taib showed up, surely it would have been cancelled," Abdul Rahman added.

On Monday, an online news portal, quoting a source, asserted that Muhammad was supposed to appear with eight state representatives at Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s press conference the day before, and that the plan was allegedly aborted at the last minute.

The supposed defections were allegedly to engineer the collapse of the Selangor administration, to be replaced by the eight defectors, 12 Barisan Nasional assemblymen, 13 from PAS, and former mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who is now independent.

Such an alliance would have formed a 34-member state government in the 56-seat Selangor legislative assembly, enough to unseat the current administration under Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

Selangor PKR and PAS assemblymen have denied any plan to defect and join Umno.

Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa also brushed off the news report about the alleged coup plot, saying the public should not entertain mere "speculation."

"No need to discuss these types of issues," he told Malay Mail Online.

Umno Sungai Besar assemblyman Budiman Mohd Zohdi told Malay Mail Online he was unsure of any plans to rope in state PKR and PAS lawmakers to join Umno in a purported bid to topple the state government.

A source close to Umno said there were no documents to show the so-called defections to the party.

"Thus, how can it be so?" the source told Malay Mail Online.

The source pointed out that in the case of Perak and Kedah, the defectors had signed statutory declarations to state their lack of confidence in the mentri besar and that their statement was not made under duress, prior to announcing their defections.

The source also said the documents were sent by defectors themselves or by their agents to respective stakeholders of the states, which are the Speaker of the state legislative assembly, the Election Commission (EC), the president or secretary-general of the political parties, and the respective Sultans.

In 2009, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lost control of Perak when three of its assemblymen defected to become “BN-friendly” independents.

In February 2016, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir resigned as Kedah mentri besar after the Kedah Regency Council held meetings with all the assemblymen in the state. Mukhriz said the Kedah royal council had informed him that he had lost majority support in the state legislative assembly.

In both cases, a confidence vote was not tabled in the state legislative assembly.