Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party has decided against being a component party of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.
In a press conference today, he said his party will focus on strengthening its pact with PAS instead.
“Umno has decided to not join PN, instead we will strengthen Muafakat Nasional (MN) together with PAS and BN component parties.
“Our support for the PN government was only based on support from Umno and BN MPs and assemblypersons to form the federal government and certain state governments,” he said.
The Umno supreme council had decided on Friday (July 24) after determining that MN was the “best platform” for Umno, PAS and BN component parties “to face whatever possibilities in the near future”.
He did not deny that this was a step in preparation for a possible snap election.
“This is not simply a preliminary step but in my opinion, it is a move that Umno and BN leaders have thought about thoroughly,” he said when asked.
Zahid clarified that Umno was not pulling out of the PN administration.
“This is not an announcement of our decision to pull out from PN.
“My decision here is to announce we are not going to participate in the formation of PN. Our decision is not to be a component member of PN if PN was to be registered,” he explained.
Zahid declined to elaborate when asked if Umno’s latest decision was due to the verdict in former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s RM42 million SRC International trial, coyly smiling and saying that the poser was “up for the media to interpret”.
He previously said Umno would make a “political decision” in response to the guilty verdict.
Bersatu’s request will be studied
Meanwhile, the Bagan Datuk MP said Umno and PAS would discuss Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin’s request for Bersatu to be a part of MN.
“I will leave it to the MN committee to study whether Bersatu’s request further strengthens MN in the interest of the rakyat and the country,” he said.
Zahid confirmed that Muhyiddin had met with BN MPs in Parliament yesterday to communicate his request.
In a statement later, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan reaffirmed PAS’ commitment to work with Umno within MN, while strengthening PN.
“In that regard, PAS agrees with Zahid’s emphasis that BN would continue to support PN that is led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin,” he said.