Johor Umno leader Nur Jazlan Mohamed defended party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's statement yesterday, where the latter said the party cannot stop its MPs from supporting PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim to form a new government.
Jazlan, who is the state Umno deputy chief, reportedly said that Zahid wanted to appease party grassroots who were unhappy with its cooperation with Bersatu.
The Umno president was also believed to be trying to get rid of disloyal party members who allegedly had been making deals behind Zahid's back.
"What Zahid is doing is the right thing for Umno. We are going into an election and the (people on the ground) are very upset about Umno going to bed with Bersatu.
"What Zahid is doing is the best thing for Umno because this prime minister is not from us," Jazlan was quoted as saying by news portal The Malaysian Insight.
The politician was referring to Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, who is leading the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that took over Putrajaya in March after a political coup that saw the fall of the Pakatan Harapan administration.
Umno, which has 39 MPs, is one of the parties that support the Muhyiddin government. However, it is not officially part of the ruling coalition.
Umno defectors in Bersatu
Yesterday, opposition chief and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim made the startling announcement that he had managed to secure majority support from MPs, including those from the government side, to take over Putrajaya.
Following this, Zahid issued a statement saying that many Umno and BN MPs have expressed support for Anwar and that he respected their decision.
"Support for the PN government was based on the support of individual MPs only," Zahid had said in his statement on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Jazlan added that there were Umno MPs who had allegedly been making deals with Muhyiddin and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
According to the news report, he claimed that among those who allegedly did this include Larut MP Hamzah Zainudin, who was formerly with Umno but had since jumped to Bersatu, and former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein.
"Umno MPs have also jumped to Bersatu before on unfair terms. Go look at history. During Mahathir’s time, Umno MPs did not show loyalty to the party," Jazlan said.