KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Umno adopted a resolution to sever ties with Perikatan Nasional at its 75th annual general assembly here today but gave no definite timeline for when party leaders serving in the Muhyiddin administration must withdraw.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the assembly has underpinned grassroots support for the party supreme council’s decision to snub the ruling coalition that it nominally supports, amid talks that Umno is divided about the matter.
“The delegates have given me the mandate to withdraw at any time if they (PN) do not indicate willingness to call for elections soon,” Zahid said in his winding-up speech.
“If this happens, then the supreme council, especially those as ministers and deputy ministers and members of parliament will adhere 100 per cent to the directive to withdraw,” he added.
Ahmad Zahid announced last month that Umno will not see out the initial agreement to remain in PN until the 15th general election by directing his party’s MPs to withdraw their support for the ruling coalition and propped up Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.
It is unclear if the party’s highest decision-making body, the supreme council, unanimously backed the call.
The council was also unclear if it wanted Umno leaders sitting in Muhyiddin’s Cabinet to quit following the call to withdraw support for PN.
Ahmad Zahid, however, told delegates at the party’s assembly that he is confident that they would do so if required to.
“If that is the decision they will not hesitate for the sake of respecting the party’s ruling,” he declared.
“This is the main takeaway for the media.”
Earlier today, the Umno president suggested that his party would contest under the Barisan Nasional banner in a message that has got allies PAS unnerved and raised questions about the relationship between the two.
It is understood that some in the supreme council either support remaining with PN or were sympathetic towards the coalition.
The faction was heavily criticised by delegates during the debates, with some likening them to “leeches” and “parasites”.
One of the Umno leaders believed to have been targeted was former secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa, currently the Federal Territories Minister.
Without naming Annuar or any of the leaders, Ahmad Zahid accused a “minister” of backstabbing the party while making veiled attacks against others.
Annuar is known to be among the Umno leaders supportive of PN and has tried to push for cooperation with Bersatu. He was eventually “replaced” as Umno secretary-general.
“You must remember that you are a minister simply because we, the party, put you there,” he said.
“If you are so comfortable with the air-conditioned room and your comfortable chairs, see and be known that those who are there, including a certain minister who is not sitting on the podium here, but is stabbing Umno from the back, if you are a man then quit now,” he added.
“They are parasites.”
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