Anwar: Azmin will be asked to explain meeting with Umno MPs
KUALA LUMPUR : After Malaysia's ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) suffered a big loss in Johor's Tanjung Piai by-election last Saturday, matters have taken an unexpected twist.
Reports have emerged that Mr Azmin Ali, deputy president of PH component party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), had a meeting with 22 opposition Umno and five PKR MPs on Monday evening.
Mr Azmin, who is also economic affairs minister, downplayed the meeting, the Malay Mail reported.
"It was a normal meeting. We didn't discuss anything extraordinary. It was a normal meeting and I am open to anyone who wants to meet me, I will meet them," he said.
"I meet with the public, the business community, MPs from PH or non-PH MPs because it is important for a government that cares for the people. We want to obtain feedback from the public, from the business community on what they think of the government's policies."
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said Mr Azmin has been told to explain what happened, The Star reported.
"Surely we will ask for his explanation. It has created a lot of questions from our partners so he should come forward to give his side (of the story), " said Mr Anwar.
Mr Anwar also told Mr Azmin to attend the PKR's political bureau meeting today.
Asked in what capacity Mr Azmin met the opposition lawmakers, Mr Anwar said he was unsure. "That is why we want his explanation whether it is representing the government or party," Mr Anwar said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
"If it is based on his capacity as the government, why weren't other lawmakers invited?"
When he was pressed on whether the meeting was appropriate after the PH loss in the recent by-election, Mr Anwar said: "Sometimes our friends do not learn from our experience like the huge defeat in Tanjung Piai."
Umno too said its disciplinary board will investigate the meeting which involved 22 of its MPs. The party's disciplinary board chairman Mohamed Apandi Ali said this after it received complaints.
"The disciplinary board will take immediate action by investigating the matter using existing procedures in making a decision," he said yesterday.
The Tanjung Piai by-election saw opposition coalitionBarisan Nasional's Wee Jeck Seng from the Malaysian Chinese Association win with a 15,086-vote majority.
Dr Wee, a former two-term Tanjung Piai MP, garnered a total of 25,466 votes against Pakatan candidate Karmaine Sardini, who got only 10,380 votes.