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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 ― Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has confirmed that all Umno MPs did indeed sign statutory declarations empowering him as party president to negotiate with political parties outside of Barisan Nasional (BN).
The negotiation is for one primary purpose ― to form an alliance which would enable the Malay party to once again assume federal power.
The Bagan Datuk MP was responding to Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz's argument that Umno should stay out of the Port Dickson by-election as a show of “goodwill” to PKR.
“All of them,” Zahid told Malay Mail when asked how many out of the 51 Umno MPs signed the SDs.
Nazri had said it would be unwise for Umno to sour ties with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR by contesting the seat, as the party is currently the biggest party in the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
He revealed that Umno running in Port Dickson would also ruin a purported plan by Umno MPs to try and get back into government by forming an alliance with any party capable of getting them there.
When asked which party is Zahid looking to negotiate with to get Umno back into government, he replied by saying “the door is open.”
Zahid also downplayed Nazri's proposal for Umno to stay out of the Port Dickson poll, describing it as the latter's “personal view”, and he respected it.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that Pakatan Harapan will not accept or endorse any move by Umno to join the ruling coalition.
The prime minister said yesterday that Umno members can join PH parties only if they individually quit their own party first.