Saturday, May 8, 2021

Umno to stay put in government after all

Much anticipated announcement on the party's future direction ends in anti-climax.

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Umno made no decision tonight on quitting the government despite days of strong calls from its top leadership for the party to quit the ruling bloc.

This followed a three-hour meeting by the party’s Supreme Council today, with hordes of reporters waiting for more than an hour in anticipation of a press conference by party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

But the party instead issued a statement signed by its information chief Shahril Hamdan.

The statement said the party would study several motions passed during the recent division meetings.

These include a motion not to work with Bersatu at the next polls, and another on strengthening its cooperation with PAS.

A third motion is on calling for a general election in the first quarter of this year, subject to the Covid-19 situation.

Zahid and a group of Umno leaders recently stepped up their criticism of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin while threatening to revoke their support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.

They have also been urging PAS, with whom they inked a charter when the two parties were in the opposition, to follow Umno out of the government.

The Islamist party has however repeatedly stated its commitment to PN.

The statement also said Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties had agreed to allow the Umno secretary-general to assume the same post in the coalition.

On Tuesday, Umno removed Annuar Musa as BN secretary-general, drawing protest from MCA and MIC which said they had not been consulted.

Annuar said yesterday that his sacking was due to his vehement opposition to Zahid and leaders allied with him over cooperation with Pakatan Harapan.

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