KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pix) has sent Umno two letters in response to a show-cause letter issued to him by the party for attending an Opposition roundtable discussion on the formation of Pakatan Harapan.
The first was from the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation’s (GMMF) lawyer seeking clarification because the show-cause letter was addressed to Saifuddin in his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GMMF and not as an Umno member.
The lawyer’s letter sought clarification if the show-cause letter was directed to their client Saifuddin in his capacity as GMMF’s CEO and if so, whether that meant that GMMF was also involved.
The second letter was from Saifuddin himself. In it, he asked for three clarifications.
Firstly, if the show-cause letter was sent to him as the GMMF CEO or as Umno member. Saifuddin also wanted to know if his case had been already referred to the Umno disciplinary board because the show-cause letter was issued on behalf of the Umno HQ and not the disciplinary board.
“The show-cause letter is vague. Since it mentioned disciplinary action can be taken against me, I am asking what offence I have purportedly committed and under which section of the party constitution I am alleged to have breached,” he said in an interview.
The two letters were sent to the Umno HQ on Friday afternoon.
He said while he was not expecting the show-cause letter, it did not come as a surprise.
To a question, Saifuddin denied he was at the Opposition roundtable to spy on them.
“I was there to achieve the higher objective of politics. I believe in talking to every side,” he said.
On Sept 22, Saifuddin raised eyebrows when he turned showed up for discussions for the new Opposition pact to replace Pakatan Rakyat, but insisted he was there in his capacity as chairman of Akedemi Belia, an NGO.
Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor immediately slammed Saifuddin for “tarnishing” the party and said Umno leaders should not be attending or endorsing the Opposition party or their agenda.
Tengku Adnan said the party would be investigating the case and Saifuddin was issued a show cause letter dated Sept 22 which was delivered to him on Sept 28.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had weighed in on the issue and said it was “not right” for Saifuddin to attend an event to discuss the political direction of the Opposition, adding that it was a breach of party discipline.
However disciplinary committee chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas was quoted in a news portal as saying there was nothing wrong with Saifuddin attending the Opposition roundtable because he did not speak ill of Umno during the event.
But vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi believed action should be taken. He said Megat Najmuddin should explain to the supreme council the rationale on why no action should be taken.
In 2008, Umno member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was sacked from the party after he attended a DAP victory dinner and PKR’s National Congress.
Zaid, who was in charge of the law, had resigned from the ministerial post a few months earlier because he was unhappy with the use of the Internal Security Act against a blogger, politician and a journalist.
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