Umno leader claims of campaign to discredit deputy president

(Malaysiakini) – Umno supreme council member Razlan Rafii claimed there is a campaign being organised to discredit the party’s deputy president Mohamad Hasan ahead of the 15th general election and party polls.

This was after blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin accused Mohamad (above) of corruption, leading an Umno branch-level leader to lodge an MACC complaint against Mohamad.

“There are certain quarters who sponsored the blog post,” Razlan told Malaysiakini.

“There is a movement by certain quarters to sully Tok Mat’s (Mohamad’s) name and they are using the blog post to further their agenda.

“They are raising old issues to attack the Umno deputy president with the intention of sullying his image,” he added.

Raja Petra, through his blog Malaysia Today on April 4, claimed Mohamad wants to oust Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the prime minister in order to cover up his corruption case.

Two days later, Setapak Jaya 1A Umno branch information chief Halim Rahmat lodged an MACC report against Mohamad accusing him of receiving kickbacks from timber projects and land leases in Negeri Sembilan.

He claimed they happened between 2008 and 2010 when Mohamad was the state menteri besar.

Razlan said the matter had been investigated in the past.

“This is an old issue which has been classified as no further action by two attorney-generals but it’s being played up again by certain quarters.

“This is not a matter of new evidence but it’s being recycled when it’s been proven there were no irregularities,” he said.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing multiple corruption charges, could potentially face a challenge from Mohamad in the party polls, which Zahid plans to postpone until after the next general election.

Zahid is facing 47 charges of money laundering, criminal breach of trust, and bribery over tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, a charitable organisation he founded.

He is also facing 40 charges of bribery involving more than RM43 million for the Foreign Visa System.

While the charges are pending, they make it untenable for Zahid to make a bid for the premiership, although, by convention, the Umno president becomes the prime minister if BN controls the government.

Instead, Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob is currently helming the government.

The Umno supreme council on Thursday (April 14) announced it planned to retain Ismail Sabri as the prime minister if BN wins in the next general election, allaying some concerns that Ismail Sabri’s more senior party colleagues could take the top job.

However, some pointed out that promising Ismail Sabri the premiership does not guarantee him the position, as was the case with BN’s Johor menteri besar candidate Hasni Mohamad who ultimately had to give up the position after the coalition won the state polls.