Absent Muhyiddin lost chance for answers at Umno briefing, delegates say


(Malay Mail Online) – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wasted his chance to get answers to the multi-billion ringgit questions he has been seeking from his boss on the country’s and party’s finances by skipping the Umno presidential briefing last night, two senior delegates said.

Muhyiddin’s absence had even prompted an expression of disappointment from party president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who had addressed the issues raised by his deputy directly with facts and figures enough to satisfy most of the delegates present, Umno supreme council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan later told reporters at the Putra World Trade Centre, where the closed-door event was held.

“He was disappointed with the deputy president who gave a very strong speech last night, which was partly untrue, like if you had any problem, you should’ve spoken to him directly. And with him not showing up tonight, it’s a big disappointment,” the Sabah Umno leader said of Najib’s response.

“There’s an empty chair. What a waste. It was an empty chair. We were waiting for him,” he added.

Muhyiddin has been estranged from the Umno leadership despite being the party Number Two after publicly questioning Najib over his handling of state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) investments and a RM2.6 billion donation from an unnamed Middle Eastern source banked into his personal accounts, reportedly to help the party in its national electoral campaign two years ago.

Another Umno supreme council member, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, voiced similar sentiments when approached by reporters.

“This is Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s choice. He lost the opportunity to be with Umno members to listen to the explanation by skipping out on the briefing,” the Kemaman Umno leader said.

He said Najib had remarked on Muhyiddin’s absence “in passing”, but spent the bulk of his speech on clarifying his involvement with 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion donation.

He added that the president did not weigh in on whether or not the dissenting Muhyiddin, who was earlier yesterday branded “power hungry” by party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, would face any disciplinary action for absenting himself from the briefing.

Abdul Rahman who is also Kota Belud MP said he gauged that many of the delegates were satisfied with Najib’s explanations, based on their “body language”.

Telok Kemang Umno chief Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad who attended the briefing said Najib’s explanations were very factual and he was confident the party leaders would be able to pass them on to the public.

“I think Najib has given a good explanation starting with the RM2.6 billion and I was happy with it,” he told reporters when approached.

The former Negri Sembilan mentri besar said Najib did not share with delegates the identity of the RM2.6 billion donor nor where the money is now.

“We don’t need to ask him. I’m a liaison chief, I make money, I collect money, that’s my priority,” Mohd Isa said.