Hamzah Zainuddin, MP for the Larut constituency in Perak who left UMNO on Friday, has been reported as saying that 36 Barisan Nasional MPs have signed a pledge of allegiance to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to ensure he is not dethroned by others
The Larut MP, who is the most senior among the six MPs who left UMNO on 14 December and has served as a Cabinet Minister under the previous BN administration, claimed that they have been hearing suggestions with regards to Parliament being used to dethrone Tun Dr Mahathir from his post as the 7th Prime Minister.
News about Hamzah and five other UMNO MPs leaving the party came to light after a letter signed by the six of them surfaced online, stating their desire to leave UMNO.
Hamzah said that their decision to leave the party had to do with UMNO President Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's leadership issue and that he should step down.
"This also has to do with the court case that Zahid is facing, which has caused members and the people, especially Malays, to lose faith in his ability to lead UMNO to face the next general election," Hamzah was reported as saying on behalf of the group.
The resignations of these MPs follow the mass exodus in Sabah UMNO, where nine assemblymen and four MPs from the party announced their decision to leave on 12 December, together with 21 division chiefs and two senators in the state.
According to Hamzah, of the 36 BN MPs who now support Tun Dr Mahathir, 33 are from UMNO, two from MIC and one from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah who signed letters of support for the PM
"This group sincerely want to ensure that the government is stable and ensure that no one uses Parliament to dethrone the PM because we are hearing suggestions.
"If the political situation is not stable, it would cause problems to the people.
"That is why we want stability and we support the PM to lead. This is all in the nation and the people's interest," Malaysiakini reported the former Cabinet Minister as saying.
Hamzah claimed that the decision to pledged support for Tun M was decided about a month back, and not a day or two ago
This photo of a meeting of Tun Dr Mahathir with UMNO leaders, including Hamzah, UMNO deputy president Mohamad Hassan, former UMNO secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim and Tanjung Karang MP Noh Omar went viral this week. The photo was, however, taken during their meeting in October.
UMNO President Zahid Hamidi, however, has been kept in dark
According to Hamzah, he and his former party colleagues colluded to ensure that Zahid was in the dark. He was reported as saying that the "boss" was unaware.
Meanwhile, former Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli has penned an open letter to UMNO's Khairy, advising him to remain in the party: