Umno AGM: A tussle for hearts and minds

Two factions will be competing to chart the future course of the party.

The Umno annual general assembly (AGM) this weekend will see a tussle for hearts and minds as two competing factions try to chart the course of the party.

Ahead of the meeting, Ketereh MP Annuar Musa has pushed the narrative that the purported overwhelming support by Umno divisions to cut ties with Bersatu was not genuine.

He claimed that a majority of them did so on instructions but did not disclose who it was.

But secretary-general Ahmad Maslan dismissed Annuar’s optimism and maintained that Umno divisions are set to reaffirm the fact that most want to end ties with Bersatu in the next general election.

Ahmad also criticised Annuar’s apparent insinuation.

“The divisions were given instructions?

“By who? Umno is a very democratic party. If anyone does not agree, they will voice it out. Like Annuar, he can say what he wants to say,” Ahmad told Malaysiakini.

Referring to a decision reached by 12 Umno divisions in Kelantan two days ago, the Pontian MP also took a swipe at Annuar, who is the chief of the Ketereh division.

“Look at the statement made by Kelantan Umno yesterday. From all divisions in the state, only Ketereh has a differing view.

“From 14 divisions in Kelantan, minus Tanah Merah which is under suspension, 13 divisions have held their divisional meetings. And from this, 12 divisions disagree with Ketereh (which wants the party to continue working with Bersatu).”

Yesterday, Kelantan Umno issued a statement saying that it is giving PAS an ultimatum to choose whether the Islamist party wants to go with Umno or Bersatu in the 15th general election.

The Umno divisions also agreed in their meeting on Tuesday evening to sever ties with Bersatu.

Ahmad said he believes this weekend’s assembly would see Umno sealing its decision to discontinue cooperation with Bersatu.

According to him, besides 124 divisions that have agreed with the plan, there are many more supporting it.

Ahmad claimed that there are divisions which had refrained from proposing a similar motion so as not to jeopardise the political status quo in their respective states.

“I think this is what has been written on Umno relationship with Bersatu.

“If I want to list you the reasons, it would be a long story. But the main ones (behind such decision by Umno divisions) are related to the issues that the respective divisions have with Bersatu.

“For example, the 15 divisions, where (its MPs) jumped to Bersatu. None of the divisions wants to work with Bersatu. Another case is in Labuan, where the MP jumped from Umno to join Warisan. The Umno members there do not even want to have anything to do with the defectors,” he said.

Ahmad also said there are Bersatu divisions that were set up by former Umno members who lost in party elections.

“And there are Umno members who defected to join Bersatu divisions (at their area).

“So, how are the Umno members going to work with their former comrades who left the party?”

By : HARIZ MOHD – MALAYSIAKINI

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