KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Umno leaders from Johor have reminded their Perikatan Nasional (PN) allies that electoral seat allocations between them will involve talks at the party level and not with any individuals, Utusan Malaysia reports.
Vice president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin told the Malay daily that election strategies often involve bilateral negotiations between various party leaders.
Khaled was responding to speculation that Datuk Seri Azmin Ali could lead his party’s push for 50 parliamentary seats in the upcoming general election, rumoured to be planned for early next year.
“When it comes to talks about electoral seat allocation, it is done at the party level, and that is between Umno and Bersatu. The question of negotiations with certain individuals does not arise,” the Johor Umno leader was quoted as saying.
Azmin’s recent induction into Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia has raised questions about his future in Gombak, a parliamentary seat that Umno dominated until it lost to PKR in 2008. He has kept the seat for three terms now.
Azmin was formerly PKR’s deputy president. He left the party along with several PKR colleagues in March to cause the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Many Umno leaders were reportedly unnerved by their party’s decision to cooperate with Bersatu and join PN, and much of this reservation was centred on Azmin.
Its Johor deputy liaison chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, in a sharp rebuke of Bersatu, called its PN ally feeble, saying it lacked integrity for accepting a defector like Azmin.
The former MP suggested the Umno splinter lacked popular support.
“Like Umno and PAS, we have strong grassroots and we take their views into consideration all the time to strengthen our party,” Utusan Malaysian quoted him as saying.
“Bersatu only latches on to our strength. If it had depended on PH’s strength then, it may be Umno or PAS now.”
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