PETALING JAYA: The removal of Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as an Umno supreme council member will not cause a split in the party nor will it lead to more members being dropped from the council, say several Umno leaders.
Supreme council member Datuk Puad Zarkashi denied claims that Tajuddin’s removal was a warning to other council members not to speak out against party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“Anyone can criticise the president and even I have done so myself.
“What is important is that for those who don’t follow the party’s decisions, then action should be taken against them,” he said when met outside the Umno headquarters on Friday night.
Puad was commenting on Ketereh Umno chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who claimed in an online posting that Tajuddin’s removal by the Umno leadership would spark a crisis and cause a rift within the party.
Annuar, a Kelantan Umno leader, also claimed that several other leaders who had been deemed political enemies would be sacked by the party.
Tajuddin, who was appointed Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia, was removed as a supreme council member and replaced by former Selangor Barisan Nasional information chief Isham Jalil on Friday.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said the decision to remove Tajuddin and appoint Isham in his place would not lead to a split within the party.
He said Umno allowed room for differences in opinions among its leaders.
“We can have different views in the supreme council. Every issue is deliberated at length before a decision is made.
“It is common to have diverse and opposing views, but once a decision is made, all must respect and support the decision,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Asyraf said the appointment of Isham, who has a Harvard degree and is only 46 years old, was well-received by Umno members, based on comments on social media and various Umno WhatsApp chat groups.
Outspoken Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the decision on Tajuddin was not out of the ordinary.
He said as ambassador, Tajuddin would mostly be in Indonesia and this would affect his role in the supreme council.
“What is being said about Tajuddin’s removal is just speculation. To me, the president felt that he needed to give Isham a place, so he removed Tajuddin and he doesn’t have to give an excuse for that,” he added.
Nazri said the appointment and removal of politicians from party posts or sackings had been done by party presidents in the past.
“I myself was sacked as Barisan secretary-general two years ago, and I didn’t make a big deal of it. It will not cause a split in Umno,” he said.
On Friday, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said Tajuddin’s removal from the council was to allow him to focus on his duties as ambassador to Indonesia.