KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has dismissed any notion of quitting Umno.

Malaysiakini reported the party stalwart as saying that he has no plans to leave Umno.

“Why should I leave Umno? I am very close to Umno, that is why I am with the party,” said Tengku Razaleigh, fondly known as Ku Li.

The nation’s longest-serving MP added that his heart is with Umno, and that he would continue to serve with the party.

Similarly, Ku Li disputed criticisms that he abandoned Umno in 1989 by forming Parti Semangat 46, which became defunct in 1996.

He defended his actions at the time by saying that Semangat 46 was founded in the wake of Umno’s ban by the courts the year before, with the idea to form a new party suggested by Umno’s first president and the first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman as he and several other former Umno members were not permitted to join the new Umno party formed by then-president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“But when Dr Mahathir invited us all back into Umno, we dissolved Semangat 46,” Ku Li said.

The 83-year-old recently courted controversy by appearing together with his former nemesis Dr Mahathir in a press conference, where both predicted the Perikatan Nasional government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin would fall when it would lose Budget 2021’s final vote during the third reading.

The Budget eventually passed with only a three-vote majority.

Ku Li’s move resulted in criticism from Umno’s leadership, with calls for him to be referred to its disciplinary committee or even face sacking. However, action has yet to be taken against him.

Continuing his efforts against Muhyiddin, Ku Li argued that majority support for the prime minister does not solely depend on budget votes or statutory declarations, but has to be proven in the Dewan Rakyat as well.

“This is about confidence in the leadership and the country, which is able to stabilise the political situation.

“Outsiders will have a positive reaction to us if the government is legitimate. This is important,” he said.

By boosting investors’ confidence, Ku Li said the amount of investment would multiply, along with an increase in job and business opportunities.

“The economy will get better and the political situation will be stable. Won’t this benefit us all?” he said.

When asked if he seeks to contest in the next general election, Ku Li said he would leave it to the party and the people to decide on the matter.

Ku Li’s previous efforts to oust Muhyiddin from the premiership include sending a letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, seeking a motion of no confidence against the prime minister.

Letters were also sent to lawmakers urging them to support the motion.

Azhar eventually declined to respond to Ku Li’s request, instead asking him to consult Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, on the issue.