KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — Attempts by the Selangor chapter of Umno to court PAS has driven a wedge between the Malay nationalist party’s state chapter and its central leadership, according to insiders.
News portal Malaysiakini today reported unnamed sources familiar with Umno leaders saying Selangor Umno chief Tan Sri Noh Omar wants to work with the Islamists so they can wrest the state back from Pakatan Harapan in the next general election.
However, the insiders told Malaysiakini that Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is against getting friendly with PAS again.
The Umno president has repeatedly said that his party has severed relations with PAS following the latter’s refusal to abandon its pact with Bersatu, the rival party led mostly by an Umno splinter group.
“During Umno supreme council and political bureau meetings, he [Noh] agreed with the party’s decision not to continue cooperation with PAS,” a source close to Zahid was quoted saying.
“But outside, he did it anyway,” the source added.
Noh is in favour of making way for PAS to field candidates for several state legislative assembly seats including the Sungai Burong seat that PAS won in 1999, according to the anonymous sources.
The federal minister had publicly said Umno will cooperate with PAS in Selangor to capture the state.
Since 2004, that seat has been held by Umno’s Datuk Mohd Shamsudin Lias.
Sungai Burong is a constituency located within the Tanjong Karang parliamentary constituency, which Noh has represented since 1995.
Selangor Umno was also alleged to have courted Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz to be fielded as its candidate for the Sungai Besar constituency, adding to the list of overtures that has infuriated Ahmad Zahid, the news portal reported.
The invitation was initiated by the firebrand Sungai Besar Umno division chief, Datuk Seri Mohd Jamal Yunos. Sources said the move has been taken as a form of dissent.
“I also do not understand what Noh’s stand is...This is one of the reasons why the president [Zahid] is always unhappy with him.
“He likes to pull stunts like this... Jamal is his follower,” the source was quoted saying.