The Umno supreme council's decision to sever ties with Bersatu come the 15th general election (GE15) was prompted at the urging of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, said Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan.
Ahmad said that Muhyiddin, at a Feb 15 meeting between Bersatu, PAS, and Umno, asked Umno to make a clear stand on cooperation with Bersatu before seat negotiations can take place.
The Pontian MP said five leaders from each party were present at the meeting.
Following this, he said the Umno supreme council met on Feb 19 and decided that it would not team up with Bersatu in GE15.
However, the party said it was not opposed to staying in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government until Parliament is dissolved.
"Since the beginning, Umno has always held to our stand that to ensure unity built on political coalitions or cooperation that is long-lasting and effective, it must be based on honesty and sincerity in order to safeguard the people's interests," Ahmad (above) said.
He added that the party took into consideration grassroots sentiments, and weighed the pros and cons of staying in the government amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bersatu is set to decide on the party's response to Umno's stance this evening.
Former BN secretary-general Annuar Musa - who is a minister in the PN cabinet - said Umno's decision to sever ties with Bersatu was "premature" as GE15 would not be held anytime soon.
The decision on whether to sever ties with Bersatu was supposed to be decided at the Umno general assembly, which is due to be held on March 27 and 28.
Umno leaders aligned to party president Zahid Hamidi, including Ahmad, have complained of being sidelined by the PN government.
At least five Umno lawmakers, including Zahid and Ahmad, have also had their parliamentary allocations slashed from RM3.7 million per year to RM100,000.