Umno MPs have been given the freedom to vote as they wish when Parliament reconvenes, the party’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said yesterday.
At the same time, he added a caveat — their votes must be guided by the party’s decision.
“The supreme council has also decided that during the next parliamentary session, Umno MPs can use their discretion when there is any voting.
“However, it is understood that all party decisions must be used as guidance by Umno MPs in carrying out any of their responsibilities,” he said in a statement without elaborating on the nature of a motion that could be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat at its upcoming sitting on July 26.
Parliament’s reopening during Emergency rule and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s recent announcement that the party is withdrawing support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has revived speculations of a no-confidence vote being tabled.
Umno has 38 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, the most of any single Malay party. The withdrawal of support could affect Muhyiddin’s position as prime minister but only if a confidence motion is presented in Parliament.
In a leaked audio clip, a voice allegedly of the Umno president can be heard telling Umno supreme council members that he had informed the King, during an earlier audience, that Umno MPs would be able to decide whether to support Muhyiddin or not in Parliament.
“We give the power to all Umno MPs, during Parliament sittings and when there is voting, be it for a confidence vote or no-confidence vote (in Muhyiddin).
“We leave it to the wisdom of the MPs to make their decisions in Parliament, which is what I informed the King during an audience.
“The party has made the decision to retract its support for Muhyiddin as Prime Minister immediately.
“This is the decision of the party. The decision of the MPs is what I had said earlier,” Zahid allegedly says in the recording.
He was also heard telling the supreme council members that he had met with 25 Umno MPs who gave their views (on leaving the Perikatan Nasional government) and that he was taking their views into consideration in making the decisions during the supreme council meeting on Wednesday (July 7).
“I have met 25 Umno MPs who gave their views and their views are the guidelines for the decisions of tonight,” the voice purportedly of Zahid can be heard saying.
“I have also met every member of the supreme council except for Datuk Zahidi Zainal Abidin, who I assume does not agree (to Umno leaving Perikatan government) based on his public statements.
“Two more of the supreme council members agreed (to Umno leaving Perikatan government) but their agreement is based on the decisions made by the Umno General Assembly and they also raised the question of timing.
“The summary of my meetings with supreme council members is that of the 56 members (46 in attendance), the ones who support unconditionally are 35 people, those who support conditionally are 15, one does not support, one KIV and one abstained,” said Zahid.