Tension brewing in Umno as several MPs refuse to toe the line

(FMT) – Tension is brewing in Umno between MPs who back opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and those who refuse to support him.

Three Umno MPs told FMT that the MPs are divided into three groups: those who support Anwar, those against, and the fence sitters who have yet to decide.

Anwar last month announced that he had received “strong and convincing majority support” from MPs to form a new government. He is to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Tuesday.

One of the MPs who spoke to FMT on the condition of anonymity said some party leaders have indirectly shown support for Anwar in public, causing discomfort to those who do not want to be part of the new understanding between “Umno leaders and Anwar”.

He also said there were some Umno leaders who were more discreet and who were waiting for Anwar to meet with the King before showing their support.

Those who are discreet are smarter as they will not be affected negatively if Anwar fails to prove that he has the majority to the King, he said.

“These leaders are playing it safe. That’s because if Anwar fails in his bid to take over the government, a lot of backlash from Umno MPs is expected, especially from those who do not agree with the move.”

He said the MPs who do not support Anwar feel that those who do are selfish. He added that some of the Umno leaders are now supporting Anwar after “feeling they were cheated by the present prime minister”.

“These are the leaders who went all out to help Muhyiddin Yassin to become the prime minister in February with the hopes of receiving favours in return. But things are not going their way. The Umno leaders do not know which way the present prime minister will sway,” he said.

Another Umno MP said they would follow their party leaders to secure their parliamentary seats in GE15. “I will only make my stand public after Anwar meets the King.”

He said 129 MPs were supporting Anwar, adding that the support was not based on political parties but was based on individual MPs, including those from Sabah and Sarawak.

A new Cabinet line-up is also being drawn up, said another MP, who added that many felt Anwar’s plans to change the government would materialise but it would depend on DAP.

Will DAP reject Anwar?

He said DAP has been a close ally of Anwar for years but seems reluctant to join the new coalition in fear of losing support from Chinese voters.

He also said there were initially no issues when they were first informed of a new possible coalition between various MPs from different backgrounds.

“But now, we are told DAP is looking at various possibilities including supporting Anwar but not joining the Cabinet. This will ensure they are back in power but without having to work with Umno directly,” he said, adding that discussions were still ongoing between PKR and DAP.

He said it was learnt that former prime minister Najib Razak had requested to not be in the new Cabinet list.

He added that a lot of things were still up in the air including the full Cabinet list as everyone was waiting for the King’s decision.

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