An Umno Supreme Council member says the party should prioritise its charter with Islamist party PAS over any cooperation with Perikatan Nasional (PN) as this was the pact initially embraced by the grassroots level.
Former Batu Pahat MP Puad Zarkashi said these appeared to be Umno’s choices at present.
But he said the grassroots were more inclined towards Muafakat Nasional as the pact was what they had wanted.
“They supported it and made it an agenda of the struggle,” he said.
PN, on the other hand, was understood to be a form of political cooperation to ensure the government functions until the next general election.
Muafakat Nasional, the charter which brought Umno and PAS together, was signed in September last year to bring about a strong Malay political force.
Puad said Umno leaders should pay heed to the wishes of the grassroots as they were the backbone of the party.
Commenting on the recent disagreements over remarks by fellow Supreme Council member Annuar Musa that Umno would back Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister in the next election, he said leaders had a duty to ensure that the grassroots were clear about the party’s direction.
“Umno is consistent that Muafakat Nasional is our priority, but this appears different when there are statements by certain individuals on the prime minister’s post,” said Puad, among those who had questioned Annuar’s comments.
“That is not what was agreed in Umno before. This is why when the statement came out, it quickly drew heated reactions from several division chiefs.”
Reiterating that Umno chiefs should refer to the grassroots in making major decisions such as the party’s position in PN, he said criticism of the leadership or differences in opinion would only ensure that leaders adhere to Umno’s goals.
This, he said, was for Umno to return as a dominant party.
“From there, we will think about who is a suitable candidate for prime minister.”
Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin, meanwhile, acknowledged the different views among party leaders.
“The leadership has announced that Umno and PAS will support Muhyiddin as president.
“But what happens if Umno ends up with more seats? Traditionally, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will appoint the prime minister from the party with the most seats.
“And how will the seats be divided among the parties? This remains a big question,” he said. – FMT