IF Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali is at all shaken by a near-coup that could have cost the opposition its prized state, he certainly hides it well, and instead, has a message for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is believed to be responsible for orchestrating the alleged putsch.

“Tell Najib that he has to be responsible and respect the principles of democracy in this country  ,” a calm-faced Azmin told The Malaysian Insight this morning outside the PKNS building in Shah Alam, where he had attended a forum earlier.

When asked if the supposed defection of PKR assemblymen to Umno had placed PKR and the opposition’s leadership in Selangor at great risk, Azmin waved off the rumour and reiterated that Najib should take care of his own shaky position.

“The one who is in a risky position is Najib because he is a leader who does not respect the principles of democracy and the decisions of the people.”

However, only the 72-year-old Muhammad turned up to announce his return to the Malay party.

In Selangor, DAP has the most seats at 14, followed by PAS and PKR with 13 seats each, while Amanah has two. BN won 12 seats in the last general election.

The remaining two seats are held by independents – Loh Chee Heng (Teluk Datuk), who was sacked by DAP last year, and former menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (Port Klang), who was sacked by PKR.

In the alleged hop-over plot, Umno would have gotten eight PKR representatives to cross over and PAS’ 13 representatives, as well as Khalid.

With 34 reps, BN would be able to take over the state government, similar to how it took Perak from the opposition pact in 2009 after three reps quit DAP and PKR to become BN-friendly lawmakers.

Pledging loyalty

When asked today if he remained certain of the loyalties of some of his assemblymen, Azmin declined to comment.

Yesterday, Selangor PKR assemblymen pledged that they would not betray the trust that voters had placed in them, and would not defect to other parties.

Several PKR assemblymen told The Malaysian Insight that rumours of party-hopping were baseless and concocted by Umno to create disharmony in the party and the state government.

However, analysts say Azmin and his state leaders must not be too quick to dismiss the threat of BN attempting major grabs for Selangor, the richest state in the country.

Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar said Azmin would be wise to be on alert as Selangor was too important for BN and its lynchpin party, Umno.

“For two terms now, Selangor (BN) politicians have had to depend on the federal government to get projects and contracts to sustain themselves.

“With the opposition in control of the state, Umno can only look from afar at how the wealth of Selangor has escaped them  ,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

This, he said, had made Umno and BN desperate to take back the state.

“Umno has been looking for opportunities to win back Selangor, regardless of what methods it would have to use.”