Umno Supreme Council meets amid speculation of Cabinet reshuffle

Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa arriving for the party’s Supreme Council meeting at PWTC today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno held a special meeting today to discuss its position following expectations of a Cabinet reshuffle after speculation of a new political alignment surfaced today.

A few Umno Supreme Council members were seen arriving at Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra (PWTC).

Among leaders present were vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin; Wanita Umno chief Noraini Ahmad; secretary-general Annuar Musa; Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan and Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.

Annuar, when met by reporters, said he instructed all Umno Supreme Council members to be present at the party headquarters after receiving information from party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi this morning.

“I was asked to inform all Supreme Council members. So, we will hold a special meeting. What the agenda is, I don’t know. We need to wait after the meeting,” he said today.

Annuar said PAS would also be holding a special meeting today after both parties held meetings last night.

“PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has been together with us since yesterday. We gathered at Janda Baik,” he said.

This morning, nine PKR leaders and MPs aligned to PKR deputy president Azmin Ali arrived at the Petaling Jaya Sheraton hotel. Separately, PPBM top leaders met at the party’s headquarters at Yayasan Selangor, just a few minutes’ drive away.

It is speculated that PPBM leaders, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad, would later join Azmin and others at the Sheraton for an “important announcement”.

The announcement could effectively see Malay-based parties playing a dominant role under a new coalition.

Any change at the federal level will have repercussions at the state level.

The federal PH coalition, comprising PPBM, PKR, DAP and Amanah, is currently reflected in all state governments, except in Perlis, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sarawak and Sabah. In Sabah, PH parties are partners in a coalition government led by Warisan.

A source said the need to “adjust” these state governments is on the agenda at today’s meetings.

The same source said discussions are under way to retain power in states where PH has been ruling with a slim majority.

Tension has been building in Pakatan Harapan as PKR, DAP and Amanah leaders stepped up pressure on Mahathir to fix a date for handing over power to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

Today’s developments come less than 48 hours after a midnight press conference on Friday, in which a visibly stern Mahathir declared that he was still in charge and that PH partners had given him the trust to remain as prime minister for as long as he wanted.

Last month, FMT reported that private meetings between Mahathir and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang might foreshadow the realignment of political power in Putrajaya, a move that might sideline DAP, and more specifically, thwart Anwar’s prime ministerial ambitions.

The new alignment would bring together forces aligned to Mahathir with the clout that PAS holds in the northern Malay heartland.