KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi sought to defend his recent criticism of Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli after a party leader reminded members against attacking its coalition government partners.
In a Facebook post today, Puad questioned if his demand for Rafizi to present a realistic and extraordinary formula for the economy is tantamount to “shooting self in the foot” as described yesterday by Umno secretary-general Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.
“Is demanding the minister to ‘perform’ considered as shooting self in the foot? What is wrong with Rafizi being reprimanded. If he is extraordinary, the unity government will become stronger.
“What is the meaning of shooting self in the foot. Cannot be criticised? Cannot be reprimanded? Cannot give opinions? My duty is not to provoke. I didn't take over Rafizi's old duty,” he said on Facebook today.
To Puad, shooting oneself in the foot is when Cabinet members fail to perform or do something extraordinary, or if he keeps quiet and allows such weaknesses to continue.
In his Facebook post, Puad did not say if he was personally accused of “shooting oneself in the foot”, but his statement comes just after Asyraf’s remarks at the Umno headquarters yesterday.
At yesterday’s news conference about Umno’s 2023 general assembly next week, Asyraf who is also the unity government's secretary-general, urged leaders in the ruling parties to stop the blame game as the government has a collective responsibility to develop the country and care for its citizens’ wellbeing.
“This is among what we have to contain and manage. No point if we keep on attacking each other and shoot our own foot to please certain quarters of society,” Asyraf told reporters yesterday.
On May 31, Puad had in a Facebook post questioned and criticised Rafizi's performance as the economy minister, claiming this was purportedly causing alleged speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle.
On June 1, PKR deputy president Rafizi reminded Puad that both Umno and Pakatan Harapan (PH) are no longer opponents but components of the unity government.
Rafizi also said Puad should not annoy PH voters as Umno would need its strength in the upcoming elections in six states.