Reezal Merican: Nur Jazlan’s criticism against PM not helping Umno

The stand-off between ‘Umno party’ and ‘Umno Cabinet’ heightens as another ranking Umno leader has come to the defence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob after the premier was slammed by fellow party member, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said Nur Jazlan’s criticism, that Ismail Sabri was the weakest prime minister from Umno, is not helping to strengthen the party.

“The prime minister’s strength and capabilities cannot be based on one action. Many other matters must be taken into account,” said Reezal Merican, in a statement this evening.

“I believe Nur Jazlan truly knows Ismail Sabri’s leadership capabilities in Umno. They were once together in Umno Youth. Their relationship is deeply rooted.

“I also know Nur Jazlan for quite a long time. We were also in Umno Youth together and were brought in as deputy ministers during the same period.”

Being mindful of the relationship, Reezal Merican said there were ways of expressing one’s feelings to leaders in a more “polite” manner.

“The strength of Umno all this while has always been based on the principles of close friendships.”

Reezal Merican, who is the Housing and Local Government Minister, said any grouses should be raised within the party.

“After all, the prime minister has been named as Umno’s ‘poster boy’ for the 15th General Election.

“At this juncture, we should help the president (Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) and the prime minister to strengthen the party, and together, build the nation in these challenging times. Talks about breaking up and insulting one another should be put aside.

“The fact is, strengthening the party is extremely important as we head for the general elections soon. Open criticism will not benefit the party,” added Reezal Merican, who is in Poland ahead of the World Urban Forum.

Another Umno leader, Khairy Jamaluddin, said Nur Jazlan’s statements against Ismail Sabri were not helpful as the party needed to show a united front ahead of GE15.

Khairy, who is Health Minister, said there were many channels to express one’s opinions, and that it was best to do it internally, instead of making statements in the media.

As Cabinet members come to Ismail Sabri’s defence, Umno remains abuzz over the removal of Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as a Supreme Council member. Tajuddin, seen to be friendly to Ismail Sabri, was recently appointed as the ambassador-designate to Indonesia.