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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — G25 member Tawfik Ismail’s revelations of the pro-moderation group’s meetings with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin have caused a serious fallout among its members.
Sources privy to discussions in the group of Malay retired high-ranking civil servants said some G25 members want Tawfik to leave, while others are considering exiting the group, as they feel that his media interviews about the former prime minister and ex-deputy prime minister have violated G25’s apolitical stance.
“They’re so very upset,” a source told Malay Mail Online.
The source said G25 members also felt that Tawfik, the son of Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, had used the group and that he appeared to show no remorse.
“He’s enjoying the publicity,” the source said.
In recent interviews with news portals The Malaysian Insider and The Star Online, Tawfik said G25 had met Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin separately, during which the topic of replacing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was reportedly broached.
Tawfik then gave an interview to Umno-linked daily New Straits Times that reported him yesterday as criticising both Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin, whom Najib had dropped in a Cabinet reshuffle last July.
Tawfik reportedly accused Dr Mahathir of betraying the people’s trust during his administration, and said it would be difficult for Muhyiddin to replace Najib as prime minister because there were allegedly too many hidden scandals linked to the Umno deputy president.
“The NST article made things even worse,” the source told Malay Mail Online.
Another source told Malay Mail Online that G25 members felt that the public’s trust in the group has fallen, while its politically-neutral stand and credibility have also been affected by the reports.
“There is now ongoing talk on either dropping Tawfik as a member or some other members withdrawing from the grouping. It’s very serious,” the source said.
The source said Tawfik had made G25 appear to be engaging in “politics of the highest level”.
“Undermines the group’s credibility, but also their individual agreement about joining G25. They are also pissed off that he appears to be pitching against Dr M and taking sides.
“The meetings were all conducted behind closed doors. The fact that he violated that understanding is unacceptable. It makes G25 untrustworthy,” the source added.
The G25 issued a statement Sunday after Tawfik’s interviews with The Malaysian Insider and The Star Online were published, stressing that it was and remains nonpartisan in its fight for moderation and reform.
The group first gained prominence when it pushed Putrajaya last year to review growing Islamisation here and assert the supremacy of the Federal Constitution over Islamic state laws in the country.