PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob says he was at a country club in Petaling Jaya for a farewell gathering of former staff from the Prime Minister's Department on Friday (Nov 25).
The former prime minister strongly denied talk that he was at the club for a closed-door meeting between Barisan Nasional and PAS leaders, Sinar Harian reported.
Ismail, an Umno vice-president, said he was only meeting friends for a farewell ceremony.
“These (rumours) are malicious slander intended to tarnish my name. Nowadays, I can’t even meet my friends,” he was quoted as saying by online news portal Malaysiakini.
Talk about a meeting at the club had gone viral on social media after pictures of several politicians arriving at the club were posted online.
Ismail added that it was unfair that he was labelled a “traitor” by certain quarters for meeting PAS leaders, yet BN leaders who met their Pakatan Harapan counterparts earlier this week were branded “heroes”.
The viral post lists Ismail, former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, MCA president Datuk Dr Seri Wee Ka Siong and former Putrajaya Umno deputy chief Datuk Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz as being among those who attended the meeting.
Earlier, Dr Wee said, in a Facebook post, that he had been at the club after receiving an invitation from two entrepreneurs.
"It was to have dim sum for brunch at a restaurant located in the country club.
"When I arrived, I ran into former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who was at the cafe next to the restaurant.
"I greeted him before my friends arrived. When they (my friends) arrived, I went straight to the mentioned restaurant for brunch," he said, adding that he was hurt by the slanderous accusations.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri also denied that Barisan treasurer-general Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was present at the farewell ceremony.
Sinar Harian reported that Ismail Sabri also said that other Umno leaders such as Khairy Jamaluddin were also slandered for going against party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"Right now, because they want to support other people to form a government and appoint someone to be Prime Minister, Umno leaders are slandering each other and dividing the party," he said.