PETALING JAYA: It is “slander”, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba says in denying Datuk Lokman Noor Adam’s claims that he had tried to get branch leaders under his Tenggara division to vote for Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as the new Umno president.
Lokman, who is a former Umno supreme council member, claimed that Dr Adham made the call to vote for Hishammuddin during a recent trip to Surabaya, Indonesia in December.
“I did not make any such call. He (Lokman) is just saying it and this is slander (fitnah),” Dr Adham said when asked to respond to the allegations on Monday (Jan 2).
Dr Adham added that the trip to Surabaya had nothing to do with the party elections or canvas support.
“The trip was organised by Tenggara branch leaders after the MCO and the 15th General Election (GE15),” he said when contacted.
“Party elections are still far away,” he added.
Lokman had claimed in an hour-long YouTube video that Dr Adham had made the call for the vote in his speech during the trip, a claim Dr Adham denied.
Lokman added that the former health minister had also said he would be defending his post as the division chief.
Lokman claimed that he was given the information by reliable sources who had gone on the trip but were not aligned with Dr Adham.
Lokman also claimed 46 of the 54 branch leaders from the Tenggara division had gone on the trip.
He said they are also prepared to be witnesses if summoned by the party’s disciplinary committee.
He said a report will also be lodged to the disciplinary committee on the matter, in case there are elements of money politics.
“When we lodge a disciplinary report, we will not only make one against Dr Adham but we will also file a disciplinary report against Hishamuddin, who is believed to be (involved)… it is only believed because we do not have the full evidence although we have friends who attended the trip including those who are not aligned to Dr Adham,” he said.
The Star has also reached out to Hishamuddin for his response.
Hishamuddin has not made any announcements so far indicating that he will be contesting for the president’s post.
The former Umno vice-president was among the Umno leaders who objected to the party’s decision to cooperate with Pakatan Harapan.
Party elections have to be held within six months after GE15 as stipulated in the Umno constitutional amendment and Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamid is likely to defend the president’s post.