KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The Pagoh Umno acting division chief Ismail Mohamed declared today his readiness to go toe-to-toe against former leader Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the next general elections.
The Johor Agriculture and Agro-based Industries executive council member said he is confident that he can win against Muhyiddin, who was the former Pagoh division chief.
“I am confident that everyone knows me and it won’t be a problem. I am confident and prepared to face Muhyiddin,” Ismail told reporters when met at the sidelines of the Umno General Assembly here.
Ismail also claimed there were no objections for him to stand against Muhyiddin, but added that even if any other candidate were chosen, they would ensure a win for the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in Pagoh.
The Bukit Serampang assemblyman said that though Muhyiddin has formed the splinter Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), the majority of people in Pagoh still backed Umno.
“Once Muhyiddin was sacked, we went to the grassroots and found they were still with us and Umno.
“They don’t want a new party. The Pagoh people love the party more than a specific leader,” Ismail said.
He went on to say that this loyalty towards Umno was instilled in the Pagoh division by Muhyiddin himself when he was their leader.
“We know the contributions of specific leaders. There are a few which have gone to the new party but not a lot.
“Muhyiddin himself had instilled in us the loyalty to the party,” Ismail stressed adding that the division has been actively mobilising support among the grassroots after Muhyiddin was sacked from Umno.
Ismail also claimed that Muhyiddin has lost traction among the grassroots as there were only around 1,000 Pagoh members in PPBM.
“A lot of them are from mixed groups, not just from Umno alone. There is not a lot of pure Umno members.
“He still visits the constituency on Fridays for prayers but the support he receives has changed compared to the support he received when he was with us,” Ismail said of Muhyiddin.
Muhyiddin was sacked by the Umno Supreme Council last June for breaching the party discipline by speaking out against the party leadership together with Opposition leaders.