KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition will consider the views of its component party leaders before making any decision to accept the recently sacked UMNO leaders, said Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday (Jan 29).
Mr Anwar, who is also the PH chairman, said that the opinions of other leaders were needed in order to preserve cooperation in the unity government.
“This is necessary to maintain the principles, peace and unity within the unity government (and so) we will have to give it a lot more consideration,” he was quoted by Bernama as telling reporters after officiating the opening of the Tambun parliamentary service centre in Perak.
He added that none of the sacked UMNO leaders has thus far expressed their intention to join PH.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and UMNO vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob has alleged that the sacking and suspension of UMNO leaders was decided unilaterally by party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, Mr Ismail Sabri said that Ahmad Zahid did not gather any input from UMNO’s disciplinary board before arriving at the decision.
“It (the board) only informed (Ahmad Zahid) that there was a report against those accused,” he said, adding that the board did not advise Ahmad Zahid on the sacking and suspension of those affected.
As such, Mr Ismail Sabri said that he disagreed with the decision taken by the UMNO supreme council last Friday on the sacking and suspension of several UMNO leaders, including former minister and youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
“I do not agree with the decision on dismissals and suspensions. It was not made in compliance with the legal process, and is contrary to the principle of ‘natural justice’ and the right to defend oneself,” he said.
Former UMNO secretary-general Annuar Musa also took a hit at UMNO, saying that the removal of leaders was a way to monopolize power in the party.
“Firing people who don't agree is the easiest way for someone to remain in power,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
He added that the purge will only expose the actual cause of ‘dirt’ in the party.
“The 'cleansing' they are doing will only produce more dirt because the real cause of dirt is still within the party,” he said.
Following the UMNO supreme council’s meeting on Friday, the party issued a statement announcing that it had sacked and suspended several UMNO leaders for their wrongdoings during the recent 15th General Election (GE15).
“Among their wrongdoings, including for standing as independent candidates, candidates for parties other than Barisan Nasional (BN) and being involved in helping opponent parties during GE15,” said UMNO secretary-general Ahmad Maslan in the statement.
Apart from Mr Khairy, a supreme council member Noh Omar was also among those sacked for breaching party disciplinary rules.
Mr Khairy had been a vocal opponent of a motion to block UMNO’s top two posts - party president and deputy president - from being challenged at the party’s internal elections, which must be held by May.
The motion was passed during the recent party general assembly and paved the way for Ahmad Zahid and his deputy Mohamad Hasan to serve at least another term.
Mr Noh, on the other hand, had publicly expressed his lack of confidence in Ahmad Zahid and resigned as the chief of UMNO’s Selangor chapter in November.
Meanwhile, former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, former UMNO information chief Shahril Hamdan as well as UMNO leaders Fathul Bari Mat Jahya, Maulizan Bujang and Salim Sharif have been suspended for six years.
A day prior to the announcement, Ahmad Zahid had declared that the party will undergo a “mass cleansing" to get rid of "saboteurs" and those who have "shot themselves in the foot".