PETALING JAYA - Malaysia's Barisan Nasional coalition on Tuesday (Jan 5) sacked its secretary-general Annuar Musa amid a growing rift between him and BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the president of BN's largest component party, Umno.
Datuk Seri Annuar, the Federal Territories Minister and Umno's division chief for Ketereh constituency in Kelantan, confirmed on Twitter that he has been sacked by Zahid.
The decision was made after the leadership found Mr Annuar's views at odds with Umno, Malaysian media reported.
Mr Annuar was seen as championing Umno's cooperation with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, often butting heads with Zahid who had said that Umno needs to go its separate way to ensure it stays as a dominant Malay party.
Umno's secretary-general Ahmad Maslan has been appointed the new BN secretary-general.
BN is a four-party coalition comprising Umno (38 MPs), the Malaysian Chinese Association (two MPs), the Malaysian Indian Congress (one MP) and Parti bersatu Rakyat Sabah (one MP).
Many Umno leaders have been fuming at being given less important Cabinet posts in the 10-month old PN government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. In comparison, leaders in Tan Sri Muhyiddin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) were given senior ministerial posts though it is a smaller party than Umno.
Umno leaders are also unhappy that several court cases have gone against their leaders, though the party is in the ruling alliance. Several Umno MPs have ongoing corruption court cases including Zahid.
Ex-premier Najib Razak was convicted in July last year in a case linked to scandal-tainted 1MDB, and last month Umno's former treasurer general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was found guilty in a corruption case.
Utusan Malaysia newspaper reported on Monday (Jan 4) that 189 out of 191 Umno divisions have decided not to continue working with Bersatu.
Umno's highest decision making council, the supreme council, will meet on Wednesday (June 6) to decide on whether to remain in PN and continue to work with Bersatu, media reports say.
Tensions within Umno, Bersatu and PN have at times boiled over in recent months as each side staked their positions.
Umno and Bersatu clashed over who would be Sabah's chief minister following state elections in Sepetmber last year, with a Bersatu chieftain later appointed to the post.
Last month, Umno worked with opposition parties in Perak to oust the state's menteri besar who was from Bersatu. An Umno chieftain is now the Perak menteri besar.