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Have battle lines been drawn in Umno?
Published:  Jul 28, 2015 11:36 AM
Updated: 3:47 AM

As speculation builds that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be dropped from the cabinet, it appears that battle lines are also being drawn within Umno.

In Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's homestate of Pahang, the Raub Umno division has retracted its invitation to Muhyiddin to officiate its delegates meeting on Aug 15. This comes after Muhyiddin’s scathing remarks about Najib's leadership on Sunday night.

"Raub Umno is disappointed with Muhyiddin's statements, which turned the back on the spirit of unity and comradeship within the party.

"Raub Umno also regrets Muhyiddin's statements, which could dishearten the party machinery and erode the people's confidence in Umno and BN," Raub Umno division head Shahiruddin Ab Moin was quoted by Bernama as saying last night.

Shahiruddin also expressed Raub Umno's full support for Najib's leadership.

He said this in reference to the deputy Umno president’s remarks at the Cheras Umno division delegates meeting, where Muhyiddin lamented that Umno and BN would lose if the general election was held soon.

Muhyiddin also lamented how Najib did not heed his advice about 1MDB, which he described as a "sovereign debt fund" .

Muhyiddin said he was not challenging Najib's leadership, but relaying dissatisfaction from the grassroots.

His statement came two days after Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir also told the Cheras Umno division not to "shoot the messenger" when they hear bad news

In his speech, Mukhriz, the son of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said leaders should instead investigate what they are told, and thank the messenger if what is said is true.

'Statements reflect growing dissatisfaction'

Former information minister Zainuddin Maidin said the statements from Muhyiddin and Mukhriz  represented growing dissatisfaction on the ground towards the current leadership.

Zainuddin also pointed out that Muhyiddin was supported by his home state, Johor, where state Umno chief Khaled Nordin has said the party's grassroots should be heard at all times.

"Am I wrong to interpret the Johor Umno chief's comments as supporting Muhyiddin?" Zainuddin ( photo ) wrote in his blog yesterday.

However, Johor itself may soon be split. According to sources, a highly speculated cabinet reshuffle may see Muhyiddin replaced with another son of Johor, Najib's cousin Hishammuddin Hussein.

Hishammuddin also enjoys strong support in the state where Umno was born, due in part to his status as the grandson of the party's founder Onn Jaafar, and the son of its fourth president and former prime minister, Hussein Onn.

Is Umno headed for another split, as what had happened in 1988, after Mahathir's leadership tussle with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and again in 1998, after Mahathir sacked his protege Anwar Ibrahim?

We will find out real soon - if the speculation on the cabinet reshuffle proves to be true.

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