KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Another Umno leader has expressed discontent with the party’s role in Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Cabinet, saying it was not “subordinate” to Bersatu in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.

Umno vice-president Datuk Khaled Nordin told former chief justice (CJ) Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad his party only signed on to the coalition to prevent a worsening of the political crisis triggered after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned.

In remarks suggesting that the alliance was born of political expedience rather than affinity, he said Umno purely supported Muhyiddin in the interests of the nation.

“Without Umno and PAS, Muhyiddin wouldn’t have formed the government. Hence, Umno is a joint-founder of Perikatan Nasional and not a passenger.


“As such, Umno feels it is only proper to receive fairness through its demand for ‘proportionate’ (representation in the Cabinet),” he said in a statement today.

Last week, the former CJ said Muhyiddin must keep Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and others facing criminal charges out of his Cabinet.

Writing on his personal blog, he warned that Muhyiddin would lose a no-confidence motion in Parliament if he caved to pressure and allowed tainted leaders into his administration.


Khaled’s statement today also reinforced the party’s apparent envy of Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and his former PKR “cartel” members who are now in Bersatu, asking why Hamid did not include them among those he described as lacking integrity.

“When 10 of the ministers are from Azmin’s bloc who did not respect the people’s mandate and traded on their positions as federal lawmakers for posts, is that moral in the eyes of Tun Hamid?” he said.

Khaled also pointed out that many Bersatu ministers were in fact those who won in the general election on Umno’s ticket but later defected to the offshoot party.

He said some among them remained mired in “disgusting” scandals but were still protected and included in the administration, which contradicted claims that the government would be clean and virtuous.

“A government is only respected and trusted when the Cabinet is capable.

“Umno is only doing its moral duty as a political party by demanding strategic representation in return for its contributions and taking into account its ability and experience in preserving the interests of the Malay community,” he concluded.

After a brief honeymoon, Umno has slowly begun attacking Muhyiddin and Bersatu that are nominally its allies in the ruling PN administration.

At the centre of their displeasure is the prominence that Azmin and his band of PKR defectors have enjoyed with the change of government and their party’s minor role in the Cabinet.

Muhyiddin broke tradition by foregoing a deputy prime minister, choosing instead to appoint four “senior” ministers who would advise him.

However, he appeared to suggest that Azmin was the pre-eminent senior minister when he told a press conference that the latter would take charge of matters when Muhyiddin was not available.

Dr Mahathir resigned unexpectedly in February to trigger a political crisis that brought down the PH administration and culminated in Muhyiddin’s appointment as the PM heading the new PN government.