By S. Harrish
UMNO has been told to submit an official letter containing all their demands regarding its position in Perikatan Nasional to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The party’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said he and Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had a videoconference with Muhyiddin on Wednesday and had stated Umno’s stand to him.
“However, I received a text message from Perikatan secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin on Thursday (Oct 15) (instructing us) to send in our request in letter form to Muhyiddin instead,” he said, according to a report in TheStar.
Ahmad said Umno would only send in the letter after its supreme council meeting next Tuesday in Pahang.
“We will discuss everything in the meeting, including our new demands,” he added.
He pointed out that politics was a game of numbers, and Barisan – Umno, in particular – was the biggest party in the Perikatan alliance and should be treated with respect.
“Out of the 113 seats in the present government, 59 belong to Barisan. Umno alone has 55 MPs including the 16 MPs who jumped to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and we still consider these seats as ours.
“Umno does not want to drag this issue any longer and we are hoping that it will be solved before the coming Parliamentary session on Nov 2,” he said.
Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said the party should be given a deputy prime minister post and more strategic ministries.
Citing Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and nine other MPs who left PKR to join PN as an example, he said almost all of them were made ministers or deputy ministers.
Even PAS, which is a smaller party compared to Umno, was given important positions and this is causing dissatisfaction among Umno members.
“Umno was given portfolios related to science, innovation and unity where we cannot do much. We should have been given portfolios related to economics, commerce and agriculture instead,” he said.
Asked to comment on his previous comment that Umno was considering throwing its support behind PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Tajuddin said this was a possibility if Umno’s demands were not met by its PN partners.