Former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein has denied being involved in the defections of Sabah party leaders.
"There’s been so many allegations against me with regards to Umno in the last six months and they’ve all proven untrue.
"In respect of recent developments in Sabah, I again find myself obliged to say that I am not in any way instrumental in them deciding to leave the party," he wrote on Facebook today.
Earlier today, Sabah Umno leaders, including at least four MPs and nine assemblypersons, quit the party en masse.
Asked about efforts to stop such defections, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that a "bangsawan" (elite) faction was instigating people to leave Umno.
When asked about this cryptic message, party sources told Malaysiakini that Khairy was referring to Hishammuddin.
Some sources claimed that Hishammuddin was trying to curry favour with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
One source, however, rubbished these allegations, saying that Hishammuddin was actually trying to keep Umno MPs in the party.