KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — The seven Umno MPs who met Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali at his official residence earlier this week today claimed that they went there to invite him to join the Opposition party.
In a joint statement, the seven MPs, part of the reportedly 22 Umno MPs who met Azmin said voters have clearly rejected the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government after the ruling coalition was defeated in the Tanjung Piai by-election.
“In view of Barisan Nasional’s big win in Tanjung Piai, we invited Azmin join Umno because it is clear that now the rakyat prefers Umno and BN,” they said in a statement tonight.
The seven are Kuala Krau MP Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said, Jempol MP Datuk Salim Sharif, Jelebu MP Datuk Jalaluddin Alias, Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor, Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Lipis MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad and Kuala Kangsar MP Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid.
They were responding to prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comment earlier today that the Umno MPs met Azmin to seek advice on whether they should join other parties.
They said discussions during the dinner meeting with Azmin focused on government funding for small projects in their respective constituencies.
“At no point did any of the BN MPs state anything else during the meeting.
“As said many times before, we will never leave Umno, let alone defect,” they said.
Earlier today, Dr Mahathir claimed that the MPs told Azmin that they have lost direction and are seeking to join other parties.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had previously asked Azmin to clarify his meeting with them.
Azmin had since downplayed the meeting by saying that it was a normal meeting and that he is open to anyone who wants to meet him.
Umno disciplinary chairman Tan Sri Apandi Ali has reportedly confirmed that several complaints have been made against the lawmakers that included Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, the party’s former vice-president and cousin of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He added that the disciplinary board will investigate and take necessary action if the MPs have breached the Umno constitution.