KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Amid rumours of Umno taking over the premiership to replace Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said that the party has now broken into three factions.
He claimed that there are two sides: one supporting the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and the other opposing it, while the former itself is divided into those supporting Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and those who back Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“Umno is split in two, and then three — between those who are in the government, and those who are not. Those in the government, meanwhile, are split in two — the Hishammuddin and Ismail Sabri groups.
“What is clear, however, is that there is no majority for this government, right? And that is why I am surprised that ministers who took an oath on the constitution are still defending this government. They should step down,” he told news portal The Vibes.
Shahrir also suggested that Umno ministers in the PN administration do not hold any influence over either the government or their own party.
“They seem to not have any influence over the prime minister, or PN. They do not even seem to have influence over other Umno ministers and MPs,” he reportedly said.
Despite that, Shahrir said the party’s grassroots are united, and Umno is currently aiming to “cleanse itself” of its image as a party with leaders who are only looking for contracts and projects.
“In going through this cleansing process, those who want projects, and survive as rentiers and commission agents, they can leave. Those who want to save themselves from being taken to court have leapt to the other side,” he added, referring to Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamad who have left for Muhyiddin’s Bersatu.
Yesterday, it was reported that Umno’s Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said he has signed a statutory declaration (SD) endorsing Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to be the next prime minister to replace Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
According to The Star, the Padang Rengas MP confirmed signing the document and urged his party’s other parliamentarians to follow suit.
Beforehand, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin assured that the party’s lawmakers who support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration will not lose their place within the party.
In a statement, Khaled called for unity within the party following a visible schism within its ranks to either support or abandon the ruling government.
While Khaled acknowledged the political ramification for the party to withdraw its support for PN, he stressed the need for the party to remain united for the sake of the Malay community and to face the challenges together.