Dr M says Muhyiddin would ally with Umno even if he won’t

Justin Ong
Interim Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the economic stimulus package announcement at Perdana Putra building in Putrajaya February 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he would not work with Umno but his president, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, would.

In a press conference after announcing the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package, Dr Mahathir continued to profess his rejection of Umno as a party.

He also hinted that Muhyiddin could be Bersatu’s nominee to be the prime minister and said he would accept this if most federal lawmakers supported the latter.

“Of course, I will not accept Umno as a component party, but I will accept its members — not identified with Umno — I will accept them.

“Tan Sri Muhyiddin is a little bit more relaxed than that and he is quite prepared to accept them en bloc,” he said.

Bersatu confirmed later that its lawmakers backed Muhyiddin to be the next PM and claimed he also has the support of former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s 11 MPs.

This could effectively clear the path for a collaboration between Umno and its offshoot Bersatu, which collapsed after word of Dr Mahathir’s unity government proposal emerged.

Umno and its Muafakat Nasional partner, PAS, both rescinded their support for Dr Mahathir on Tuesday to block the inclusion of DAP in any such unity government.

The impasse will head to Parliament next Monday when a special sitting will be convened for federal lawmakers to try and choose one among them to be the next prime minister.

If at least 112 of the country’s 222 MPs cannot decide on this, a general election will be necessary.

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