KOTA KINABALU: Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, dropped from the Cabinet last week, retaliated when he cancelled an invitation to party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak to open the Semporna Umno division’s assembly later this month.
Sources told The Malaysian Insider that Shafie, who is the Semporna division’s chief, had instead invited Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to open the meeting.
Shafie and Muhyiddin were the top two Umno personalities dropped in Najib’s Cabinet reshuffle last week.
Both had been critical of Najib’s handling of the scandal of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the Finance Ministry-owned strategic investor.
“The political scenario has changed,” said an Umno source close to Shafie on the cancellation.
The Malaysian Insider contacted one of Najib’s officers and was still awaiting a response.
Shafie’s officer, who accompanied the former rural and regional development minister back to Sabah on Monday, also declined to comment.
“Just wait until Aug 15,” said the officer, referring to the date of the Semporna division’s assembly.
It is a tradition for Umno divisions, which represent the collective voice of its grass-roots members, to invite top party leaders in the Supreme Council to officiate at their assemblies.
It is learnt that Najib’s invitation was made before the July 28 Cabinet reshuffle.
Shafie arrived in Semporna on Monday, the constituency he has represented since 1995. It was his first time back since he was dropped in the Cabinet reshuffle.
Like Muhyiddin, Shafie’s ouster appeared to be related to his open criticism of Najib and his handling of the 1MDB controversy. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in digitaledge Daily, on August 5, 2015.