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Radio silence from Umno MPs after Anwar sworn in as PM

Many who had openly rejected cooperation with Pakatan Harapan now appear to have made tacit U-turns.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
A woman passes Menara Dato Onn at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, where the Umno headquarters are housed.
A woman passes Menara Dato Onn at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, where the Umno headquarters are housed.

Umno leaders and members previously on the front line of criticism for their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appear to have gone silent following the appointment of Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister, leaving questions about their current stance on forming the government with their long-time foe. 

Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein, for one, had said in the aftermath of the election that he was ready to be sacked by his party if BN decided to work with PH.

In his latest post on Facebook, however, the BN treasurer-general was congratulating Anwar on his appointment as prime minister. 

"May you carry out this trust and responsibility for the sake of the people and the country," he said. 

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, meanwhile, who had also stated his readiness to be sacked, has made no further mention of the matter. 

Taking to social media after Anwar's swearing-in ceremony at Istana Negara, he voiced appreciation for those who had supported his administration and congratulated Anwar on his appointment.  

"I pray that this new government will be able to maintain political stability and economic sustainability," he said. 

Their comments and the silence of others follows a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council on Wednesday night, where it was decided that the party would not join any unity government led by Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said the decision had been unanimous. 

Previously, many BN members and component party leaders had said that they would not work with PH.   

They also urged Zahid to step down following the coalition's worst ever election performance at the Nov 19 polls. 

Zahid was among those who were present at the palace when Anwar took his oath of office as prime minister. 

Aside from PH, Anwar also has the support of MPs from BN, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Warisan, Muda, Parti Bangsa Malaysia and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah. 

On social media, many users questioned the change of stance by BN politicians in comments ranging from mockery to criticism. 

"The mouth says one thing, the heart says something else," Facebook user Mahmad Amran said in a post on Ismail's account last night. 

"Nice U-turn, Datuk Seri," user Jamal Bahar added. 

There were also comments from users who said they did not want such leaders in the new Cabinet. 

"I hope you don't take any position (in the Cabinet)," said Facebook user Nik Hafeez. 

"Thank you lah Datuk for holding fast to your principles," user Mohd Hamim said in a post laced with sarcasm. "You've been steadfast."