by AZREEN HANI / pic by TMR FILE
ALL eyes will be on the Umno Supreme Council meeting tonight, as the party is expected to decide if it will remain with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government or withdraw its support totally.
The ties between Umno and another PN component, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, appeared to have worsened over the weekend.
According to a report by Utusan Malaysia, 189 out of 191 Umno divisions had expressed their objections to working with Bersatu for the 15th General Election (GE15).
While this is not the first time in recent months where Umno had threatened to leave PN, the sacking of Tan Sri Annuar Musa from being Barisan Nasional (BN) and Muafakat Nasional (MN) secretary general has fuelled speculations that this time around, the Malay-based party really means business.
Annuar was sacked by Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a meeting yesterday, although the former indicated on his Twitter posting that he only learned about his removal through media queries.
The Ketereh MP, who had been vocal about Umno’s direction in both PN and MN, also refused to comment further on the matter, saying that it is “time to calm down”.
He had previously stated that Umno could not progress alone if it wanted to win GE15. However, he said he remained firm with his “No DAP, No Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim)” stance, and was willing to be sacked for it.
Meanwhile, Annuar’s successor Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, when met with reporters yesterday, played down the sacking by saying that “Annuar was only being replaced, not removed”.
Ahmad maintained that Umno will only finalise its position in the government in the meeting tonight.
He declined to elaborate on Ahmad Zahid’s remarks which allegedly called for party leaders to quit their government posts in order to force a snap poll.
Additionally, Kelantan Umno leaders yesterday declared their support for Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub’s resignation as chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board as a sign of protest against PN.
“I have submitted my resignation letter to the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali in his office just now,” Ahmad Jazlan had said in a statement on Monday.
The Machang MP also yesterday declared that Kelantan Umno will not be working with Bersatu for GE15.
BN’s component party MCA, however, expressed disappointment over Annuar’s removal, saying that the decision was not made in consensus.
“In MCA’s opinion, any appointment to a position in BN, it must be made based on the BN Constitution and conventionally this nomination must be presented and agreed by consensus in the BN Supreme Council Meeting.
“The same goes for any dismissal from any party from positions such as BN secretary general and treasurer general,” the Chinese-based party said in a statement.