After fraught meeting, Umno supreme council drops support for Muhyiddin, urges PM to relinquish post immediately

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A livestream of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s online press conference at Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, July 7, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A livestream of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s online press conference at Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, July 7, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — The much-anticipated Umno supreme council meeting tonight concluded with an agreement for the party to withdraw support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, ending months of speculation.

The lengthy meeting that started at 8.30pm and ended at 45 minutes past midnight saw the council divided into two camps, according to sources with knowledge of what transpired.

However, it was soon clear at the end that the majority of the supreme council members who are not part of the Muhyiddin Cabinet chose to side with Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and pushed for the withdrawal of support.

Zahid said Muhyiddin has failed to adhere to Umno’s list of seven guidelines for the party’s continued support of the Perikatan Nasional government spelled out on March 11 last year.

“To fulfil the unanimous mandate of the delegates in 2020 Umno General Assembly, and based on the seven failures of the government to meet the aspirations of the people outlined earlier, then the period to give support to Tan Sri ‘Mahiaddin’ as PM is withdrawn and terminated immediately,” he said in a press conference online five hours after the meeting started.

He urged Muhyiddin to take the honourable route and step down from office.

Zahid said Umno wants a new interim prime minister appointed until the Covid-19 crisis in Malaysia reaches a stable state and herd immunity is achieved through vaccination.

“The new prime minister’s tenure should only focus on helping the rakyat throughout the pandemic, overcoming Covid-19 through a more inclusive approach and ensuring the vaccination and immunisation process is sped up.

“After successfully achieving the level of group immunisation, the new PM must immediately advise the YDPA to hand over the mandate back to the people to hold GE15,” he said, referring to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Zahid did not propose anyone to be interim prime minister.

However, he stressed that the Umno supreme council will not endorse Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or the Pakatan Harapan coalition that includes the DAP, to be the interim government.

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