Perlis and Sabah Umno vow to continue ties with Bersatu seemingly against party leadership decision.
Umno’s Perlis and Sabah chapters have pledged to work with Bersatu in an apparent revolt against the national leadership’s decision to cut ties as soon as Parliament is dissolved.
Perlis Umno chief Shahidan Kassim said it was paramount for the party to continue working with Bersatu and PAS to forge Muslim political unity.
“Why should we be enemies with Malay parties? We should forge unity, not make enemies. We want to win as a large Malay political movement,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Umno currently holds two out of three Parliamentary seats in Perlis.
Sabah Umno head Bung Moktar Radin said the state party leaders will uphold their agreement to work with Bersatu through the fledgling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).
“Sabah Umno has autonomy (to chart its course). We need to stay calm and affirm (our decision to work with Bersatu).
“As of now, we have no problems. We will cooperate (with Bersatu and GRS parties),” he added.
The commitments made by Shahidan and Bung was a shot in the arm for former Umno supreme council member Annuar Musa, a vocal critic of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Zahid has been showing increasing hostility towards Bersatu and under his stewardship, Umno’s supreme council had written to Prime Minister and Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin on Feb 24 to inform the latter that the relationship between the two parties will cease once Parliament is dissolved.
Annuar has been a proponent of Umno-Bersatu ties on Malay-Muslim unity grounds.
The federal territories minister today lauded the statements made by the Umno duo while adding that his only observation indicated that many Umno divisions share similar sentiments.
He reiterated allegations by Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, that 147 out of 189 party divisions were against working with Bersatu, were incorrect.
According to Annuar, only 118 had raised motions for the national delegates’ assembly that were critical of working with Bersatu, adding new allegations that these motions were made under duress.
“They were ordered to do so and not all fulfiled the procedures to file those motions.
“Many (who filed motions) also did so without clarity and after explanations were made, they want to change their position and adopt a strategic approach (towards ties with Bersatu),” he claimed.
Annuar claimed that some senior party members will be meeting grassroots to explain matters and provide a critical account of “some leaders”.
“Our election strategy has to be pragmatic and we should only make decisions when the time is right, not now.
“To ensure that we can go one-on-one with Pakatan Harapan, we must unite.
“Congratulations Perlis and Sabah Umno. I believe the rest will follow,” he added.