KUALA LUMPUR – November 19, 2019: Former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has denied a claim that he was the mastermind of a controversial meeting to “thwart plans of a coup against” Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Hishammuddin today stated that he did not lead a group of 22 Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarians to meet PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Azmin Ali at the latter’s home in Putrajaya last night.
“Such a claim is not true. I did not plan the meeting. If Umno’s disciplinary committee wants to probe me, then I will comply. I have nothing to hide,” read Hishammuddin’s brief denial on Facebook.
The claim that he was colluding with Azmin over the “clandestine meeting” was aired by Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, who accused Hishammuddin of being in cahoots with Dr Mahathir’s party, Pribumi Bersatu.
This was the second time Hishammuddin has been implicated over claims of political switcheroo with the previous being his supposed attempt to form a new government through realignment of political forces in October, which he also denied.
The controversial meeting came in the wake of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) crushing defeat at the Tanjung Piai by-election on Saturday, where BN’s Wee Jeck Seng of MCA won with an overwhelming majority of 15,086 votes.
PH leaders who were known to be Azmin’s ally such as PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin who is also the Minister of Housing and Local Government, Deputy Transport Minister and PKR lawmaker Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar were among those seen leaving Azmin’s house.
Pressure on Dr Mahathir to hand over power stepped up immediately after the Tanjung Piai by-election results were announced on Saturday, with the flurry of political commentators laying the blame for the defeat squarely on Dr Mahathir’s lap.
Meanwhile, Umno disciplinary board chairman Tan Sri Apandi Ali told a news portal today that several complaints had been received over the matter and that it is currently under probe.
“Actions may be taken against Hishamuddin and the other 21 lawmakers if they are found in breach of Umno’s constitution,” said Apandi.
All the 22 BN members of parliament (MPs) who attended the meeting are believed to be from Umno, which currently have a total of 38 MPs.