PETALING JAYA: Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin has urged the party to nominate its own prime ministerial candidate for the coming general election, even though Umno had days ago backed current Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for the position.
Khaled said Umno should not agree to naming a candidate “from a party with no real political power” as this would only lead to chaos and instability.
“This is why the party must offer its candidate in the event it won the most number of seats in the 15th general election. Even if Umno doesn’t secure the most number of seats, it must have a candidate ready who can galvanise support to form the government,” he said in a statement.
Khaled said the previous Pakatan Harapan government was led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then chairman of PPBM, a party that won only 13 seats in 2018. Khaled noted that as prime minister, Mahathir was able to get MPs to jump ship to strengthen his party.
Mahathir’s membership in PPBM has since been terminated, a culmination of his fallout with Muhyiddin, who is PPBM president, after the latter formed the current government with BN, PAS and parties from East Malaysia.
Khaled said there were many potential PM candidates in Umno including stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, deputy president Mohamad Hasan, fellow vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, former vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein and former Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, among others.
Khaled said they were “prime minister material”.
He said Umno should not limit its options even though Muhyiddin Yassin had been named as the Perikatan Nasional’s choice of prime ministerial candidate.
On Thursday, Umno supreme council member Annuar Musa said the party had agreed to back Muhyiddin after discussing the matter with PAS during a recent Muafakat Nasional meeting.
The decision, however, was questioned by fellow supreme council member Shahrir Samad who said the party should first resolve how Barisan Nasional, Muafakat Nasional or Perikatan Nasional will go into the 15th general election.
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