Some Umno bigwigs are believed to be wooing other supreme council members into supporting PPBM, a party that they once regarded as insignificant and which Umno grassroots are against.
According to a supreme council member who spoke to FMT, the bigwigs also plan to drum up enough support among the leaders to force party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to “step aside”.
“It is not PPBM leaders who are talking to us. It is Umno leaders. Are they trying to split Umno?” said the insider who asked to remain anonymous.
“Both sides are talking to us. Those who want us to agree to work with PPBM and those against,” he said, without elaborating further. He said he feared that more of his colleagues would support PPBM if they allowed themselves to be influenced by these leaders.
The Umno grassroots have already sent a strong message to the leadership that they were not keen on working with PPBM; 143 divisions recently adopted resolutions at their annual meetings to withdraw support for PPBM at the next general election.
Umno has 192 divisions, of which 191 held meetings.
A Barisan Nasional member told FMT that it was supreme council members who are divided, not the grassroots.
“The movement to ask Zahid to take leave is getting stronger as his court cases linked to corruption are expected to start after the movement control order. Some are wondering if they should still support him,” he added.
He said some of those who want Zahid to go on leave are Umno leaders, including two who did not win seats at the 2018 general election but still hold positions in the party.
He added that these two had previously backed former party leader and prime minister Najib Razak, but had hopped over to join Umno leaders who supported PPBM. “They say if we support Zahid, the party will be weakened as he may be charged, and what would happen to the party then?” he added.
Another Umno member said the grassroots were still in support of Zahid and Najib. “There is no misunderstanding between supreme council members and the grassroots leaders on who they should support, as most of them have rejected PPBM.
“Under Umno, we were looked after well. Will we still be looked after if we join PPBM?” he said. “That is our concern, Furthermore, most of the grassroots are also Umno loyalists,” he said, referring to the many Umno divisions which had shown support for Najib over Zahid.
The Umno member said he had more to say but chose to remain silent because of the wide-ranging powers held by the government under the emergency ordinance. – FMT