Some division chiefs want Umno to pull out of unity govt, says leader

The special closed-door meeting on Sunday between Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and division leaders saw a call for the party to withdraw its support for the unity government, says a leader.

(FMT) – Speaking on condition of anonymity, the leader said several division leaders supported the call after former prime minister Najib Razak failed to get a full pardon for his conviction in the SRC International case.

However, the leader said withdrawing from the unity government would be “risky” for the party.

“The party is currently not in good shape. We will lose strength and bargaining power if we pull out of the government,” he said.

He said several groups of division leaders also personally reached out to Zahid on the matter.

“These groups are not happy with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim as he failed to help the party bring Najib back,” he said.

A pullout would not be the first time that Umno has withdrawn from the government, as it had done so in July 2021 when Muhyiddin Yassin was in power, in protest against his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Another division leader, who also asked not to be named, said there is tension within the party, especially among those in Najib’s camp.

“They had hoped that Najib would get a full pardon, but it did not happen. Most of them initially agreed to work with Pakatan Harapan in hopes that Najib would be pardoned, like how Anwar was pardoned,” he said.

On Sunday, FMT reported that the 191 division leaders have been asked to collect a million signatures for a petition seeking a full royal pardon for Najib.

This follows the Federal Territories Pardons Board’s decision to halve Najib’s sentence in the SRC International case from 12 years to six, and to reduce his RM210 million fine to RM50 million.

Umno said it was saddened but respected the decision.

The party also said it will continue to seek justice for Najib in accordance with the law.