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UMNO MPs Supported Anwar To Be PM & 6 More Things Tajuddin Reveals At Tell-All Press Con

With the rumour that the next general election would be called soon, the Pasir Salak lawmaker's revelations give a great insight into the alleged divide within UMNO.

Cover image via UMNO & Bernama via Berita Harian

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Last week, it was revealed that Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was removed from the UMNO Supreme Council

His removal from the top party position can be seen as a direct result of UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's disapproval of him.

Free Malaysia Today reported Zahid as saying that Tajuddin was removed because of his critical attitude towards the party, explaining that while Supreme Council members are allowed to have differing opinions, all decisions finalised by the party's leadership must be complied with.

Despite the tension Tajuddin has with the party, the UMNO politician, who is often embroiled in controversy, was appointed as Malaysia's ambassador to Indonesia, a high-salary post that can only be awarded by the Prime Minister.

It is worth noting that he has yet to be officially given the post, pending credentials from the Agong as His Majesty was hospitalised for leg pain, reported Malay Mail.

Bukit Bendera member of parliament (MP) Wong Hon Wai had warned the Prime Minister against appointing someone in return for their support, something which a political analyst from Universiti Sains Malaysia, Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, also commented on. He said Tajuddin's appointment can be seen as him being in the pro-Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob camp.

The matter surrounding Tajuddin has become an indication that there is a divide in UMNO, namely those who are aligned with Zahid and those who are aligned with Ismail Sabri.

With Tajuddin's removal from the UMNO Supreme Council and the rumour of the next general election being around the corner, he has confirmed such a divide exists in the party during a tell-all press conference yesterday, 27 June.

Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman speaking during a tell-all press conference yesterday, 27 June.

Image via Eizairi Shamsudin/New Straits Times

In a rare occasion of speaking ill of his party, here are seven things that Tajuddin revealed on Monday:

1. UMNO members supported Anwar to become the prime minister

Opposition leader and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Image via Asyraf Hamzah/New Straits Times

During the press conference, the Pasir Salak MP said at least 15 UMNO lawmakers had signed statutory declarations (SD) to support PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to become the prime minister, reported Malay Mail.

"I'm a living witness (that UMNO MPs signed the SD). I didn't want to sign at first, but I was urged to," he told reporters at Eastin Hotel Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"After that, they kept saying 'No DAP, No Anwar'. Those are all lies. They were lying to the public and especially UMNO members. I'm basically being sympathetic towards UMNO members who did not know what was happening behind the curtain."

"We had to respect the president (Zahid), right? We could not reject the president."

According to him, those MPs who signed included Zahid, Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

Following Tajuddin's exposé, Nazri confirmed the signing of the SD, reported The Star.

2. UMNO members tried to topple Zahid from the party president post

Tajuddin showing a photo of a secret meeting with party members held at his house.

Image via Miera Zulyana/Malay Mail

The next bombshell that Tajuddin dropped was about an internal movement to remove Zahid from the party president post, reported The Vibes.

According to him, the movement was led by deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who colluded with Najib to organise a meeting in May 2020.

"We made a memorandum asking Zahid to step down in a proper manner for the sake of UMNO," he said, showing a photo of the meeting to reporters.

"The meeting was held in May 2020 at my house. Tok Mat (Mohamad Hasan) was there, Najib was there, and (Datuk Seri Mohamed) Khaled Nordin was also there. Many were present."

"We concluded it's better for him (Zahid) to step down."

He allegedly advised Zahid to focus on his trial rather than positions of power.

"There are a lot of cases. He doesn't have the capability to care about others. It's better (for him) to focus on his personal problems. Don't burden UMNO with his personal problems," he related.

The former non-executive chairman of Prasarana Malaysia Bhd said 130 out of 191 division chiefs wanted Zahid to step down in 2020.

The plan failed because Mohamad Hasan backed out, he claimed.

3. Zahid needs to go

During the hour-long press conference, Tajuddin also called on Zahid to step down from the UMNO president post, contending that the latter is a liability to UMNO's survival, reported Malaysiakini.

"As I said, Zahid has become a liability to UMNO. He cannot be party president and lead the party going into the general election because we will lose," he said.

"Go and ask what the public thinks, ask the professional people, ask voters... You can even ask UMNO members, but I believe many are scared to speak up because (some) worry that they would not get 'watikah' (appointment letter to contest in the election)."

He advised his party president to focus on defending himself in his criminal cases instead, adding that party leaders in the past had relinquished their posts after they were charged.

"It is time for Zahid. If he loves the party, loves its struggle to let go of the president post."

4. The party should only have one captain

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (left) and UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

Malaysiakini also reported the Pasir Salak MP as saying that Mohamad Hasan should not succeed Zahid and that the post is best given to the current prime minister.

"Give the chance (to someone else). Not Tok Mat (Mohamad Hasan) though because... we just don't want the party to be a party with two captains, one on the prime minister's side, and the other on the president's side," he said.

"This had been the practice since the time of Hussein Onn [and] Mahathir (Mohamad), only one person (holds the position as prime minister and UMNO president). The president and prime minister must be the same person."

5. Ismail Sabri should be the party president and he has the support

Adding to his argument on why the prime minister and the party president should be the same person, Tajuddin said the arrangement is a must, or else the prime minister would be pressured by party members like what is happening today.

"There is a lot of grassroots support for Ismail to become (the next) UMNO president. We want a president who is clean," Free Malaysia Today reported him as saying.

6. UMNO Supreme Council's meetings are all just 'wayang'

Continuing his spree of bad-mouthing Zahid, Tajuddin accused his party president of holding UMNO Supreme Council meetings just for 'wayang' (show), reported Malaysiakini.

"He (Zahid) said he is always open and ready to listen to differences in opinion. But is he?" he told reporters.

"I have been in the Supreme Council a long time. The council's decisions were not really what its members wanted but were actually his (Zahid)."

"He would let one or two leaders speak during the meeting, and then we decide what he has already planned before the meeting."

"And then the party secretary-general would issue a press statement, which has also been prepared beforehand. All already planned. The Supreme Council discussions are only 'wayang'."

7. I am prepared to be kicked out from UMNO

After unveiling so many party secrets, the 74-year-old MP said he is prepared to face the consequences, reported New Straits Times.

"If they play rough, I can do the same by contesting as an independent candidate (in the next general election)," he said.

"The majority (votes) that I had got during the previous general election (GE14) increased, although the party at the time was not spared by the political tsunami."

"Having said that, after 50 years with the party, my heart is still with UMNO."

The Pasir Salak lawmaker also quipped that he might contest under PAS, and the Islamic party's secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan responded to Tajuddin's statement with open arms, reported Bernama.

You can watch the full press conference below:

The recent political narrative suggests that GE15 could be called early as UMNO's 'court cluster' is rumoured to be pressuring Ismail Sabri to dissolve the parliament to make way for GE15:

Here are some of the past controversies involving Tajuddin: