KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — The identity of Umno’s prime minister candidate remained elusive tonight, with members of the party’s supreme council refusing to comment following a two-hour meeting.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin affirmed the matter when met, adding that another meeting with Barisan Nasional MPs chaired by Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was currently underway.
“We will leave it to the 42 (BN) MPs and the top leadership to decide (on the prime minister candidate),” he told reporters as he was leaving Umno headquarters at Menara Dato’ Onn here at about 9.50pm.
Later, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Datuk Mohd Puad Zakarshi — both supreme council members — also declined to comment when met by reporters here.
Earlier, the supreme council members and Umno MPs arrived in droves for the meeting called to discuss their preferred prime minister candidate.
Former Umno Cabinet members from the Perikatan Nasional government who were present included Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Sembrong MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, and Kota Tinggi MP Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique.
Federal lawmakers in attendance included Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin, Jempol MP Datuk Salim Sharif, Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Besut MP Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Kuala Krau MP Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said, Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Jelebu MP Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias, Padang Besar MP Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Mastura Mohd Yazid and Rompin MP Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin.
Also present were Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and Tapah MP Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, respectively the presidents of MCA and MIC that were part of BN together with Umno.
This morning, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun issued a notice instructing all MPs to submit in writing to Istana Negara their candidate for the next prime minister before 4pm tomorrow.
Azhar in the letter said this is in accordance with Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.
An audience with the Agong today was also held involving leaders of various political parties to discuss the identity of the next prime minister, following Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation yesterday.