Suspended leaders remain strong, vow to fight back

PETALING JAYA: Umno leaders who were suspended for six years from the party on Friday were unapologetic and look set to fight back.

“What has happened will not break my spirit to continue my struggle for my religion, race and country. This is not the end, but merely a beginning,” said Sembrong MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic) in a TikTok video posted yesterday night.

He also stated that he will have to discuss with the leadership of Sembrong Umno on what his course of action will be.

Earlier, in a cryptic post on his Facebook page, Hishammuddin said “their evil must not make us lose our good”.

The former defence minister’s post was accompanied by a picture of himself consoling a Wanita Umno member who was in tears.

The post on Jan 28 was referring to his six-year suspension from the party by the Umno supreme council.

Hishammuddin was allegedly one of the 10 Barisan Nasional MPs who declared their support for Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to be the 10th prime minister after the last general election.

The 10, however, retracted the support after Barisan chair and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Barisan would support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th prime minister en bloc.

Jempol Umno division chief Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Sharif said he did not know what he did wrong to deserve the six-year suspension.

“I supported the party and worked throughout the election, supporting the candidate until he won. No one can say that I betrayed the party in any way.

“My social media is proof of my loyalty throughout the 15th General Election (GE15) and thereafter, despite me being dropped as a candidate in GE15.

“I have been with Umno for 35 years and I am trying to figure out what wrong I’ve done that I am being treated in such a degrading manner,” said Mohd Salim.

For now, he said, he would wait for the letter and then use the right channel to appeal, as he was currently busy looking after his wife who is in a coma in an ICU in Kuala Lumpur.

“I have asked the Jempol Umno members to remain calm.

“Let me get my letter first,” said Mohd Salim.

In Johor Baru, Tebrau Umno division chief Datuk Maulizan Bujang said in Facebook statement that he was suspended “without calling me or giving me a chance to defend myself”.

“I have accepted (the decision) although I really love the party that has contributed so much to the country.

“Maybe it was my fault as sometimes I do not see eye to eye with the party president.

“It is all right, maybe there is a reason behind what has happened. I will continue to pray that Umno will recover with its leaders accepted not only by members but also voters,” he said, noting that he has been in Umno for 42 years.

Meanwhile, a party source said suspended Umno members will be able to appeal against their suspension once they receive the official letters from the party.

The source did not say whether the anti-hopping law was factored into the decision to suspend Hishammuddin instead of an outright boot as this might affect the number of Umno seats.

“During the meeting, we were not told the reasons (for the sacking and suspension).

“We were only asked if we agreed or disagreed with the disciplinary board’s recommendation,” said the source.

The source added that it is not unusual for full-fledged reasons not to be disclosed during supreme council meetings.

On Friday, the Umno supreme council sacked former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and supreme council member Tan Sri Noh Omar.

Besides Hishammuddin, Mohd Salim and Maulizan, former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan and former Youth exco member Datuk Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahya were also suspended.

The action was taken against them because they were deemed to have criticised the party president and worked with opposition parties during the last general election.

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