Are leaders “selling” Umno to PPBM?

(FMT) – The purported plan to make Hishammuddin Hussein or Ismail Sabri Yaakob deputy prime minister in the Perikatan Nasional government may be step to placate Umno, but it seems only to have left the party grassroots even more annoyed.

Several grassroots leaders have voiced disappointment with the party’s Supreme Council members, saying it is not for them to decide if the party should work with PPBM.

One of them who did not want to be named told FMT that the Supreme Council members have to listen to the grassroot leaders.

“It’s not the other way around. So far, the majority of us have said no,” he said. A total 143 of the 191 divisions have resolved not to work with PPMB during the recent divisional meetings.

“Then why are we hearing rumours of Hishammuddin or Ismail being appointed as deputy prime minister?” the leader asked.

He took it further, asking if some supreme council members “are selling Umno to PPBM”.

The grassroots leader was referring to speculation in social media since yesterday that Hishammuddin was about be appointed as deputy prime minister.

There was also speculation that Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob may be in talks with Hishammuddin to decide who among the two should be the country’s number 2.

The move apparently is to ensure Umno MPs do not withdraw their support from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Early last week, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the 143 divisions, making up 74.8% of the total, have declined to work with Muhyiddin’s party, PPBM in GE15.

The local leader asked if Hishammuddin had the grassroots support needed to convince Umno members to change their minds.

“He is seen as an elite. Does he mix around with us?” he added.

Another grassroots leader said most divisions were not in support of Hishammuddin or Ismail.

“They are seen to be close to PPBM. Will they be able to defend Umno?,” he asked.

“What assurance can they give us that they will not try to sell Umno?” he said, further questioning some Umno Supreme Council members if they were in favour of working with PPBM.

An Umno leader also told FMT that there are fears that Muhyiddin may try to convince Umno Supreme Council members to switch sides.

He was referring to a leaked video purportedly from a PPBM Supreme Council meeting on Feb 23, last year, a day before the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

According to the recording, Muhyiddin wanted to entice Umno leaders to join his party to make PPBM the largest Malay party in government.

In the recording, a man who sounded like Muhyiddin was heard saying: “If they know a new government is going to be formed with Umno, why not tell them join us now rather than later? I think if we do that.. 10, 20 people… Najib and his gang… and we give them positions… if not as ministers, then as chairmen of GLCs.”

Today, the Umno leader told FMT that the video shows it is not about working with Umno. It is about a plan ” to take over Umno and for PPBM to be the biggest Malay party”, he said.

He added that the video had been alleged to be from before the Sheraton Move in February.

“To a great extent, has Muhyiddin not succeeded?” he asked.