The Umno supreme council is not divided over the move to withdraw support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, according to party secretary-general Ahmad Maslan.
He revealed that 50 out of the 56 members had inked a form to state their agreement prior to the supreme council meeting last week.
Following the July 7 virtual meeting, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the decision and claimed that the prime minister had failed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ahmad Maslan said there were some differing opinions on when Umno should retract its support for Muhyiddin, who is clinging to power with a tenuous majority.
He claimed that a small number of supreme council members wanted to delay the move.
“Some suggested we should do it when Parliament reconvenes, or some other time,” he told the Star.
Parliament is scheduled to reconvene for a special sitting on July 16. The Dewan Rakyat will sit for five days from July 26 to Aug 2 while the Dewan Negara will sit for three days beginning Aug 3.
Parliament had been suspended following the emergency declaration on Jan 12 in light of the surge of Covid-19 cases.
However, critics had claimed that Muhyiddin pursued the emergency to prevent his majority from being put to the test in the Lower House.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Maslan said the supreme council has the right to interpret the decision of the Umno general assembly, which empowered the president and supreme council to decide the appropriate time to rescind support for the premier.
He also revealed that two of the members did not sign the form prior to the meeting, but did not clarify the status of the other four.
Responding to a question if the withdrawal of support meant that Umno ministers in Muhyiddin’s cabinet should also resign, he said the party only wanted the prime minister to step down.
“That is what we are asking for, we never asked anyone else to resign,” he added.
He also reiterated that Umno would not collaborate with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim or DAP to form the government.
Meanwhile, The Malaysian Insight reported that according to sources, lawmakers Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Pasir Salak) and Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Padang Besar), as well as Puteri Umno leader Dira Abu Zahar were among the six who did not support the move.
The source also said the six didn’t sign the letter because they felt that the move to reject Muhyiddin was a form of manipulation.
“Besides, they also didn’t understand what was the president’s plan.
“An example in the letter mentioned that Umno wants to withdraw from the PN government but the four states with Umno together with Bersatu want to remain. So that’s one of the questions raised,” he said.
Sources also said that the meeting went smoothly and there was no tense situation as reported by the media.
“The meeting went smoothly, there was no tense situation. There were only a few differences of opinion because one of the things discussed was when Umno wanted to leave PN.
“The president wanted to leave PN immediately but there were Supreme Council members who did not agree for now because the time was not right. So, there was a bit of a clash,” he said.