KUALA LUMPUR: Two former ministers today refuted claims that they were among 33 Umno members of parliament, who signed a letter expressing support towards the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Bera MP, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was the former rural and regional development minister, insisted that he had never signed any letter to express his support towards anyone.
“If the letter really existed, than I am not one of them,” he told the NSTP when contacted today.
Ismail was asked to comment on the revelation made by former domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, that 36 Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs have signed a letter to express support for Dr Mahathir last month.
Hamzah, who is the Larut MP, together with five other Umno Federal lawmakers had announced their decision to leave the party yesterday citing lost of confidence towards the leadership of party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Apart from Hamzah, other MPs, who had announced their decisions Datuk Rosol Wahid (Hulu Terengganu), Datuk Seri Ikhmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (Tanah Merah), Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Mersing), Datuk Shabudin Yahaya (Tasik Gelugor) and Datuk Mohamad Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (Sabak Bernam).
Their departure came after the mass exodus of several MPs, senators and state assembly in Sabah Umno on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview with the NSTP, Hamzah said the decision to support the leadership of Dr Mahathir was not made in a haste.
He also warned a third wave of mass defection involving 10 MPs if Zahid refused to heed his call for the latter to resign from becoming Umno president.
Former higher education minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, meanwhile, urged all quarters to avoid from believing rumours regarding his political future.
Idris, who is also the Besut MP, is among the 10 MPs who are rumoured of completing to leave the party.
“Do not believe (in such rumours)” he said.
MIC vice-president, Datuk C Sivarraajh, however, gave credence to the existence of the letter.
Sivarraajh, who was the former Cameron Highland MP after the Election Court declared his victory at the parliamentary seat as null and void, said expressing support for Dr Mahathir’s leadership is not equivalent to jumping ship or switching political alliance.
“My views are the same with (MIC) president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran,” he said without elaborating.
NSTP, at press time, are still in the process of getting comments from Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican (Kepala Batas), Mohd Shahar Abdullah (Paya Besar), Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Pontian) and Datuk Halimah Mohamad Sadique (Kota Tinggi) on the matter.