Perlis Umno strongman Shahidan Kassim has threatened to break ranks with the central Umno leadership if it decides to cut ties with Bersatu at the Umno general assembly this month.
Shahidan said he would not be perturbed if action is then taken against the state chapter.
“Once Perlis Umno decides, if they want to expel us, let it be,” Shahidan, the Perlis Umno chief who is also the chairman of the ruling Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) backbenchers club, said on Talk, Now, a current affairs interview programme produced by MalaysiaNow.
The Umno general assembly will take place on March 27 amid persistent calls by a section of its leaders against cooperation with Bersatu at the impending general election.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak have stepped up their criticism of Bersatu on the back of allegations that the party led by Muhyiddin Yassin has sidelined Umno in appointments to key government posts.
They have also been urging PAS to follow suit in abandoning Bersatu.
PAS, which separately entered into the so-called “Muafakat Nasional” pact with Umno during the parties’ time in the opposition, has repeatedly stated its commitment to supporting Muhyiddin’s government.
Shahidan, who is the Arau MP, questioned the calls by Umno leaders for PAS to abandon Bersatu, saying PAS is already together with Bersatu in the PN coalition.
“PAS has already joined PN. So it means that if we want to work with PAS, the condition from PAS is that we must be with Bersatu.
“We cannot have Bersatu without PAS, because PAS is in PN. They are part of PN now,” the veteran politician said.
“PN cannot contest where Barisan Nasional is and vice versa,” he added.
In the interview, Shahidan also said Umno is no longer a platform for politicians to automatically climb the political ladder.
He said in the past, Umno members had regarded the party as irreplaceable.
“It was such that whoever contested as part of Umno would win. That was a different era. Now times have changed. With our smartphones, our views have become more dynamic and change from time to time,” he told Talk, Now.