UMNO AGM | BN has decided to go into the 15th general election on its own, according to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The BN chairperson said that Umno, as the leader of the pact, has to win the most number of seats to be the dominant party in a coalition government that would be formed after the election.
"BN has decided that we will face GE15 on our own. Let me be clear, once and for all: for Umno to become dominant again after GE15, we must win the most number of seats.
"Secondly, BN needs to determine which party is really sincere to form a government with us," he said in his policy speech at the Umno annual general assembly 2020 at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.
Zahid's announcement is seen as the answer to the biggest question surrounding the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
At the same time, it also places PAS in the middle. The Islamist party had been holding to its stand to continue working with Bersatu under the PN banner, while at the same time maintaining its relationship with Umno under their Muafakat Nasional pact.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was also present at the assembly.
However, attempts to get his comments were futile as Hadi left PWTC in a hurry. Heavily guarded when heading to his vehicle, the Marang MP did not entertain questions from media members who wanted to get his take on Zahid's speech.
In his policy speech, Zahid stressed that the decision to go solo does not mean that Umno is arrogant.
"We are not egoistic, we are not arrogant. We are not naive (either). We are not kids who can simply be treated unfairly.
"We reject traitors and defectors. We do not want pests to destroy the party. The culture of party-hopping had been too much. Voters and the rakyat are betrayed.
"Positions and ghanimah (benefits) are traded for dignity. Is this the culture we want (our generations) to inherit?"
Umno is not an official member of PN, but it was part of those who supported the coalition to make Muhyiddin Yassin the prime minister in March last year.
However, since then the ties between Umno and Bersatu has continued to strain, despite Umno being part of the government with several of its leaders made cabinet members.
It had worsened to the point that the Umno supreme council in February decided to discontinue its cooperation with Bersatu - a decision which was greeted with objection by some of the party leaders.
Reporting by Kow Gah Chie, Haspaizi Zain, Ng Xiang Yi, Ramieza Wahid and Low Choon Chyuan