KUALA LUMPUR – Umno’s Datuk Puad Zarkashi branded today Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin “cocky” and “arrogant” for responding to Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar in an open letter instead of seeking an audience with the Johor Ruler.

The Umno supreme council member added that his former party colleague and leader’s action  was akin to open defiance against the state monarch.

“Writing the letter itself showed that he is indeed cocky and arrogant. He could have appealed for an audience if he wanted to explain,” Puad said in a statement.

“But generally the people of Johor know his attitude towards the Palace, which was why he was moved away from the state to federal politics,” he added.

Puad was referring to Muhyiddin’s Facebook statement in response to critical remarks against him made by Sultan Ibrahim in a speech in Muar last week.

The state Ruler had praised incumbent Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin for his co-operation with the palace compared to the two others before him.

Khaled’s two predecessors were Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman (1995-2013) and Muhyiddin (1986-1995).

In his Facebook post, Muhyiddin denied that he was arrogant and claimed that when he was the mentri besar, he had a close relationship with Sultan Ibrahim who was at that time the crown prince.

The former Umno deputy president and deputy prime minister also denied that Johoreans were troubled by many of the policies drawn up when he was the state MB.

In rebuttal, Puad claimed that Muhyiddin had introduced several failed initiatives, including Dana Johor, which saw thousands of Johoreans investing in it in the belief they would reap profits only to see the trust fund collapse and forking out more of their own money to repay loans used to buy its shares.

“Muhyiddin promised at the time that the share prices would climb up to RM5 so he campaigned all the way into the villages to ensure everyone bought shares, including encouraging them to take up loans with the bank to pay for them.

“But what happened then? The share prices plunged as low as 20 sen. Up until today the bank is chasing the poor rural folks,” he said.

Last year state investment fund Johor Corporation coughed out RM300 million to compensate the 32,000 subscribers of Dana Johor shares.

The payment would be done in four stages, Malay daily Utusan Malaysia reported.

– Malay Mail