Penawar denies calling for Najib to step down
Aziz during Penawar’s press conference at Memorial Tun Hussein Onn in Kuala Lumpur today. — Picture by Jack Ooi KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Penawar, which groups former Umno elected representatives, has denied reports that it wants Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down as prime minister.
Its president Tan Sri Abd Aziz Shamsuddin told reporters today that the body formed in December 2009, “did not and has never” called for Najib to step down.
“I strongly deny the statement. In the meeting on July 29, which I chaired, Penawar did not and has never made the decision to call for Najib to step down. Any misperception should be corrected,” the former political secretary to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
An online news portal had claimed yesterday that the group, whose patron is the long-serving former prime minister, had decided at the July 29 meeting that it was time for Najib to resign.
It fuelled speculation of an internal revolt within Umno by Najib’s detractors who are aligned to his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, a claim repeated by political rivals PAS today.
The portal also pointed out that blogger Mohd Sayuti Omar had written on Penawar’s call to Najib to step down and claimed that those present at its meeting were Muhyiddin’s brother Aziz Yassin, former Youth and Sports Minister Mokhtar Hashim and Tamrin Ghaffar, the son of former deputy premier Tun Ghaffar Baba. But Aziz, a former minister, said today that he doubted that there was any mutiny brewing within Umno.
“There is no such thing. That is a misconception. Umno is fully behind Najib
“Najib has worked hard to develop the country but a lot of people say things blindly. We were formerly in the government ourselves so we sympathise with him. We hope the public also gives its sympathy as slander only ends up in the public losing out,” he said.
Aziz also said that Penawar was formed to give its “views and support to the prime minister to do his job well.”
“We regret that it was reported that we asked for him to step down. Us old Umno leaders respect the government and are loyal to Umno.
However, Aziz said that if it was true that a Penawar member had made such a false statement, he should resign from the group as that was not the shared view of the body.
“In this organisation we have discipline and we have our conditions. If he said so, he should feel guilty. We are honourable people,” he said, adding that he regretted that “those who have benefitted from the past 50 years, now don’t want to support the government.”