Bersatu MPs have reportedly refused to back Umno’s Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan as the next Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, causing a vote for the position to be postponed.
The claim, which was first raised by Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi, was confirmed by Bersatu MPs.
The Bersatu MPs, who spoke to Sinar Harian on the condition of anonymity, said the claim was true.
“Bersatu’s position is that Umno must choose a candidate that is not facing charges in court and has integrity.
“We hope the candidate won’t have problems dealing with Bersatu MPs,” one of the MPs was quoted as saying.
The report said all Bersatu MPs, as well as four independent MPs aligned to the party, had agreed to abstain during the vote.
This would leave Ismail Sabri Yaakob with only 79 out of the 114 MPs supporting him.
Pakatan Harapan, who had nominated Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming for the post, has 88 MPs. This number increases to 105 when other opposition MPs are included.
Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh is the sole Umno MP to sit on the opposition bench and is not supporting either side.
The government had on Tuesday postponed the vote for the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker.
Officially, it was to allow time for the creation of a third deputy speaker position for the opposition.
Shortly after the postponement, Puad railed against Bersatu, claiming that they held a grudge against Ahmad.
Ahmad is presently standing trial for money laundering and giving a false statement to the MACC over RM2 million he received from then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak in 2013.
Najib was in July last year sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million of funds belonging to state-owned SRC International Sdn Bhd. He is appealing the decision.
Following the postponement, Umno’s Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said, who had resigned from the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker position, was asked to temporarily serve in her former position.