A five-minute audio clip purportedly of Johari Ghani claiming that Umno has been offered at least four critical portfolios in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's Cabinet has been making the rounds on social media, although the Supreme Council member denies that it is his voice in the recording.
"Yesterday, the offer that was put to Umno was that the finance minister will be from Umno, the home minister will be from Umno, the rural development minister will be from Umno, the education minister will be from Umno," a voice identical to Johari's was heard saying in the clip.
It added that Umno would also helm government agencies such as Tabung Haji, Felda and Risda.
The clip is believed to have been recorded a day after Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah met Anwar and Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, where the latter rejected a proposal for a "unity government".
When contacted, however, Johari denied that it was him.
"Not my voice," he said in a short response to MalaysiaNow.
The voice in the clip further dismissed those who questioned Umno for "surrendering" to DAP.
"It is DAP which is surrendering to us, we are not so desperate to surrender to DAP. If they talk too much, we will pull the handbrake, and this government will collapse," it said.
A statement signed by Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan in the wee hours of Nov 24 said the party's Supreme Council members had unanimously agreed to join a unity government as long as it was not helmed by Muhyiddin, a move seen as fulfilling Zahid's demand to join forces with Anwar.
This was met with silence by almost all of the Umno leaders who had said they would oppose any form of cooperation with Anwar or PH, with former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein saying they were prepared to be sacked.
Anwar was sworn into the top office on Nov 24, ending four days of impasse over the appointment of a prime minister after none of the major coalitions won the numbers needed to form a government.
The palace had given a 24-hour deadline for political leaders to submit statutory declarations to convince the Agong that they had a majority.
Muhyiddin submitted 115 names before the deadline on Nov 22. However, they were ignored by the palace, with the Agong proposing that Muhyiddin and Anwar find a solution through the formation of a unity government – an idea rejected by PN.
The recent election saw BN thrashed by Bersatu and PAS candidates including in Malay constituencies considered as Umno strongholds.
The coalition won only 30 seats, fewer than half of the 79 it won in 2018 when it was ejected from power.