KLUANG, Feb 27 – The decision to suspend former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin from the post of UMNO deputy president was not aimed at splitting the party. On the contrary, it was to ensure that every party member was bound by the party discipline, no matter what post he or she held.
Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, who is also the Deputy Head of the Sabah UMNO Liaison Body, said he believed that the decision was made in total, including after considering the actual task of a deputy president.
“A deputy president should be capable of assisting the president in strengthening the party. But in this case, they (UMNO Supreme Council members) felt that Tan Sri Muhyiddin had failed to do so. That’s why they felt that his post as deputy president should be suspended,” he said.
“However, he can still continue to play a role as the Pagoh UMNO division head and as a party member because this is not a membership suspension, it was merely suspending him from discharging his duty,” he said when he was commenting on the issue here today.
Salleh was earlier approached by reporters at the opening of the 2016 Membership and Voter Registration Campaign and the Young People’s Mini Carnival organised by the UMNO Malaysia Puteri movement at the Dataran Persiaran Kluang. He said the decision must also be taken because Muhyiddin had differing stand and opinion from the party on several issues, and this could affect the strength of the party.
“In principle, a deputy president must be able to forge close cooperation with the president in facing whatever problems that surface. Furthermore, we are now facing global economic problems and consciously or otherwise, we are also feeling the effects. In this context, we must cooperate so that government policies in tackling the problems can be implemented in the best manner possible,” he said.
In the meantime, Salleh said the people still had confidence in UMNO but the party must be smart in tackling the negative perception that would be spread by certain groups in the social media. He told this to the reporters when he was asked whether the decision would affect the people’s trust.
“In the past we did not think that it (social media) was important because we wanted to use the conventional method, which was through meetings and gatherings with the people. But actually, there are other things that we must tackle, that is the social media. We cannot leave it alone, that’s why we must be involved,” he added.