Umno chief Zahid asks party to step back from demanding key posts in new govt

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appealed to party members to stop personal political moves. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM UMNO ONLINE/FACEBOOK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party is not in a "dominant" position in Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and should not demand appointments in the government.

He said there were some so-called "main players" in the party who believed Umno should be given "important" ministries or even more places in the administration.

"As party president, I feel the same - but the reality is we are not the dominant party.

"We have to accept this reality. The mentality is as if we are leading the government as before in Barisan Nasional (BN)," he said in an interview aired on Umno's Facebook page in conjunction with the party's 74th anniversary on Monday (May 11).

"The reality is we are (only) part of the government, although we contributed to its formation with a big number (of MPs) along with PAS.

"We shouldn't blame those making the decisions or put a burden on their shoulders that we must pressure them to get what we should have," he added. "I think there must be willpower at the bottom."

His call should help cool the tensions in PN coming from Umno.

Just over two months ago, opposition parties Umno-led BN, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak grabbed federal power by joining up with two factions in then-ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

PH collapsed with the defection of a group of MPs from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, and 11 MPs from Parti Keadilan Rakyat led by deputy president Azmin Ali.

The new PN government is led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin who has dished out key Cabinet appointments to his Bersatu group and the MPs brought along by Datuk Seri Azmin. The Azmin group has since joined Bersatu.

This has led senior leaders in Umno - including deputy president Mohamad Hasan, vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Supreme Council member Azalina Othman - to gripe that Umno has been sidelined.

Datuk Seri Mohamad said in a Facebook posting in mid-March: "It is clear that Umno, as the biggest bloc of MPs, has been sidelined in an unfair manner that can be seen in two matters."

He was referring to Umno getting what he sees as non-critical ministries, while Bersatu and Azmin's camp took key portfolios.

Umno president Zahid in the interview appealed to his party members to stop personal political moves as these had created many problems.

He said the party would continue to face other challenges and would be attacked from the outside, but the most dangerous threat was the one within.

"Please stop it. Enough. The road ahead is still very long, " he said.

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