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Bersatu strategist: Public must know what transpired at Azmin-Umno MPs meet

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As Pakatan Harapan was still reeling from its routing in the Tanjung Piai by-election, news surfaced of a meeting between PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and Umno lawmakers which fueled the political rumour mills.

Commenting on this, Bersatu strategist Rais Husin said such meetings could further erode public confidence in the 18-month-old government.

Therefore, he argued that it is vital for the people to know what was discussed during the meeting at Azmin's residence in Putrajaya last night.

“So that the people will know the focus remains on rebuilding the nation with people-centric initiatives that will benefit the people and the nation.

“This should kill unnecessary speculations that will do more harm than good,” he told Malaysiakini.

Rais claimed not to know of additional details pertaining to the meeting apart from what has been reported in the media.

“I don't know the details of the discussions at the 'closed-door' meeting but it will be 'nice' to know as it does give rise to undesirable speculations,” he added.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is also Bersatu chairperson, claimed to be in the dark about the meeting as well.

However, Azmin, who is also the economic affairs minister, downplayed the issue.

“That was a normal meeting. Nothing extraordinary [...] I take an open approach, whoever wants to meet me, I meet with them. I meet with the people, the business community, MPs whether from PH (Harapan) or not from PH,” he said.

Whereas, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has demanded an explanation from Azmin.

The meeting reignited speculation about political realignments, especially since former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein was among those present.

In October, the Pakatan Harapan secretariat had accused Hishammuddin of plotting to form a new government without DAP and Amanah.

On the same day, Anwar, speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, claimed that the threat of persecution was used to coerce MPs into supporting this plan and urged BN lawmakers not to succumb.

"This is the problem of wanting to follow the strategy by Sembrong (Hishammuddin's parliamentary constituency) and others. All this is nonsense.

"All this is sometimes for personal survival [...] to close MACC cases. We don't want that. Politics should not be about threats, it should be about principles.

"Be it threats of prosecution or imprisonment, one's principle must not be sacrificed," he said.

Hishammuddin has denied the allegation or that he is attempting to stop Anwar from succeeding Mahathir.

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