Umno split over support for Anwar, Ku Li as PM

Party sources say Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has the backing of 24 of the 39 Umno MPs

KUALA LUMPUR – Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s bombshell on September 23 when he announced that he commanded parliamentary majority has brought to the surface the infighting in Umno.

A source told The Vibes that there are now two major camps in the country’s largest Malay-based political party.

Sources say Umno is heading into a war of two factions. One backing PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister and another wants Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to take the reins. PHOTO by Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali (NST)

One camp led by Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak favours Anwar.

The camp favouring Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is headed by vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin.

“Right now, the Zahid-Najib camp has the support of 15 MPs. These are those who have criminal charges against them or are waiting judgment in court.

“The other group is behind Hishammuddin, Mohamad Hasan and Khairy. They are backing Tengku Razaleigh as their prime ministerial candidate,” said the source.

The source added Tengku Razaleigh, popularly known as Ku Li, enjoys the support of 24 out of 39 Umno federal lawmakers.

The Umno presidential contest seems to be played out via a proxy war, said another party insider.

Does Ku Li have the numbers?

A source said Tengku Razaleigh, who met with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Tuesday, actually commands more than two-third parliamentary support. 

Tengku Razaleigh’s audience with the Agong came hours after the ruler’s meeting with Anwar on the same day.

He added that the number of MPs for Tengku Razaleigh is significantly higher than Anwar’s claim of more than 120 MPs, but shied away from revealing the exact figure.

When asked how this is possible, seeing that no one political party or coalition commands strong numbers in Dewan Rakyat, the source said Tengku Razaleigh will form a unity government involving all federal-level political parties in the country.

“There are PAS members, more than half of Umno members, DAP representatives, Warisan, GPS, Amanah, some members from PKR and the independents under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Pejuang has not been officially recognised as a political party yet but all their MPs are backing Ku Li.

“However, those who have (legal) problems and are facing legal battles in court are not in this bloc. They can support Ku Li but their names are not included in the list that we have forwarded to the Agong.

“Not all PAS members are in this group either as those who have been implicated in the 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) scandal are being put on hold,” said the source.

However, the source said they are more partial towards Anwar after his assurances that he will allow the law to take its course and will not interfere in the judicial process of ongoing cases.

“Support for him among grassroots is gaining momentum after his statement last week that his will be a Malay-Muslim-led government which also takes care of the rights of the non-Malays,” said the insider.

He added that Tengku Razaleigh has proven to be a “lightweight” after losing the Umno presidency to Zahid and coming behind Khairy in the race.

“The fact that he is 83 years old is also a factor, so what stable government are we having with him as prime minister?”

On what will happen to Muhyiddin, the source said it is up to the Agong to allow the prime minister to “step down graciously” or face a vote of no-confidence in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Agong has the discretion to request for Muhyiddin’s resignation or invoke Article 55 of the Federal Constitution to summon a special parliamentary sitting to decide on who commands the support of the Dewan Rakyat.

By : Azril Annuar – The Vibes

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