Puad Zarkashi: Writing on the wall for Muhyiddin

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Umno won’t forget Bersatu “backstab” in Sabah.

An Umno supreme council member says Umno will leave PN in a matter of time and that the decision was final and what the majority wanted. Puad Zarkashi claims Umno has been stabbed in the back too many times by Bersatu.

It is only a matter of time before Umno officially leaves Perikatan Nasional (PN), a party leader asserted, accusing its coalition partner of political dishonesty and betrayal such as during the Sabah state elections last September.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the decision to quit PN has been made by the majority of the party members and indicated it was pending the annual general meeting — now scheduled for March 27-28 — to be made official.

“It is an open secret that Umno will leave PN when 118 out of 147 divisions have already decided.

“Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should understand that the decision has already been made. It is just not official yet,” Puad was quoted saying.

However, he also said Umno would not necessarily go it alone in GE15 after ditching Bersatu.

He said that a lot of party members are confused and believed that Umno will lose if it does not work with Bersatu in PN.

“Just because we reject Bersatu, it does not mean that we will contest by ourselves. We cannot be rigid at this moment and we can co-operate with other parties.

“Umno can still work with PAS or GPS and other parties in Sabah.”

He said Muhyiddin, who is Bersatu president, had selected the Umno MPs to his cabinet without consulting the party or regard for its hierarchy.

“And while they had announced the setting up of the Perikatan Nasional presidential council, they went on to cancel the high-speed rail project on their own.

Najjua Zulkefli/TMI

“Muhyiddin did not even talk to the other party presidents before proposing to the king his plan to declare a state of emergency. That is not an honest way of dealing with your partners.”

However, the former Batu Pahat MP admitted there was opposition among the supreme council on whether to cut ties with Bersatu in GE15.

“This comes from those who have ministerial and other positions. They ask if Umno can win if it goes solo, but I don’t think Umno should underestimate itself as anything can happen in GE15,” said the Johor leader.

Federal Territories Minister and former Umno general secretary Tan Sri Annuar Musa is among those who have openly questioned Umno’s plan to ditch Bersatu.

After he was removed from his position as Barisan Nasional secretary-general, Annuar alleged that party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was conspiring with Pakatan Harapan chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP to bring down the “Malay-Muslim” government.

“Yes, Annuar is among those who do not want Umno to break ties with PN, but we understand his reasons as he is in the cabinet,” said Puad with a smile, adding that Annuar’s contention that Umno would “die” did not make sense.

“Umno did not disappear after it was declared illegal in 1988, and it did not ‘die’ after losing GE14.

“Just like PAS, Umno is a party that is rooted with members on the ground, but Umno is bound to die a slow death if it continues to be with PN, which is politically dishonest and would stab it in the back,” said Puad.

The former Special Affairs Unit chief brushed aside claims that Umno will destroy Malay unity by quitting Perikatan Nasional.

“There is no point talking about Malay unity when you stabbed us in Sabah.

“This (Malay unity) is just political rhetoric. If Bersatu is sincere about Malay unity, why did it partner Pakatan Harapan to cause Umno to lose power? There is no Malay unity if the parties are bent on undermining each other.”

In the Sabah elections, BN lost eight seats directly to PN and its allies.

On top of that, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), a member of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), which is allied to PN, wrecked BN’s chances at least a dozen seats by creating multi-cornered fights that split the vote.

BN also suffered multi-cornered tussles against STAR for three seats, independents (three) and Parti Cinta Sabah (one).

These ensured BN ended the polls with just 14 seats, compared to PN’s 27 – 17 with GRS, seven PBS and three with friendly independents.