KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz has admitted that he is the “mastermind” behind the move to obtain signatures for a statutory declaration (SD) from Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in support of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
However, Mohamed Nazri, as reported by Sinar Harian, said the move was not intended to trigger a change of prime minister, as alleged by some, but merely to give a mandate to the Sembrong MP to be the spokesman for 25 Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs should they be called before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He explained that the SD should be considered a “mandate declaration of BN MPs” aimed at explaining their objection to Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to His Majesty.
“I can confirm the matter because I have been working on it for the past two weeks, after we were informed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would call party leaders to Istana Negara again, starting June 9.
“The ‘signing’ of this SD involves 25 BN MPs out of a total of 41 people.
“The reason is because we lost confidence in the transparency of Umno president, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in representing the party when he was called before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said as reported by Sinar Harian today.
The report added that Nazri had commented as such when asked about the recent admission by Umno secretary-general, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, that there was an effort to collect signatures for an SD from MPs within the party.
However, Ahmad told Malaysia Post on June 21 that he had not been approached to sign any document.
The Pontian MP also did not offer further details or name the MPs involved.
Earlier today, Umno Supreme Working Council (MKT) member Datuk Razlan Rafii had denied the party’s involvement in collecting MPs’ signatures for an SD.
Commenting further on why 25 BN MPs had lost confidence in Ahmad Zahid, Mohamed Nazri revealed they were disappointed that the Umno president had submitted a letter of support from some Umno MPs backing Anwar as the new prime minister during an audience with the Agong last September.
He explained that the decision was made by Ahmad Zahid without the knowledge of the majority of BN MPs, thus raising suspicions that the Bagan Datuk MP might do so again.
“As a result, we agreed to give a mandate to Hishammuddin to be the spokesman of the BN MPs to assert that we have never and will not support Anwar as prime minister.
“Once again, I emphasise that the effort to gather signatures for the SD is not intended to bring down Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin or change the new government.
“The SD was handed over to Hishammuddin after they were collected, but whether he has been called to present it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong... I am not sure,” he said.
When asked, Mohamed Nazri stressed that he was not aware of an attempt to collect the signatures of MPs from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) camp.
“I don’t know about that. Our movement is only to explain the real stance of BN MPs to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and reject support for Anwar to become the prime minister,” he said.
Sinar Harian further reported that a source from the Umno MKT as revealing that the PH camp led by Anwar himself is understood to have also attempted to collect signatures for an SD backing him to become the prime minister.
The Malay daily said the SD was then presented by the Port Dickson MP to the Agong during his audience with His Majesty at Istana Negara.
“I understand that Anwar presented the SD containing the signatures of 115 MPs, including Umno MPs, to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in the hopes of being appointed as the new prime minister.
“However, we were informed that Istana Negara then verified the SD and found that there was an overlap in the signatures of many MPs with another SD submitted by Hishammuddin.
“Simply put, the movement to collect another SD from government MPs is actually aimed at defending Muhyiddin and preventing Anwar’s ambitions from becoming prime minister,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.
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