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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan has admitted that many party members were unhappy with Tan Sri Annuar Musa whose views strayed from theirs.
In an FAQ on his social media accounts late last night, Shahril responded to questions asked of the party, including the sudden termination of Annuar as secretary-general of both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Muafakat Nasional (MN) yesterday.
“It’s true that recently Tan Sri Annuar Musa has been seen as diverging from the mainstream and remained firm on some matters that caused much unease within the party,” Shahril said.
However, he was quick to point out that Annuar is still a party member, even if he had been removed from holding any central posts.
“But to date, he is still an Umno man and I am confident that he will remain loyal to the party even without a central role.
“As long as he is loyal, his experience and wisdom will remain an asset to the party,” Shahril added.
He also said the removal does not erase Annuar’s contributions to Umno, noting the Keterah MP had since GE14, been in charge of the party’s electoral campaigning that ended with victory.
Shahril further pointed out that Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had openly recorded his appreciation of Annuar.
The Umno information chief dismissed claims that Annuar was “sacked” by the party due to a rift with the members and other leaders, or that the latter’s membership would be terminated soon as well, as alleged by an insider yesterday.
According to Shahril, the secretary-general position is one based on appointment, which is the prerogative of the Umno president who is also chairman of the BN coalition.
“Changes to appointed posts are the prerogative of the party president. Today, the president picked Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan,” he said.
Annuar confirmed his removal when contacted by Malay Mail yesterday, though he later said he has not received anything in writing.
He also declined further comment.
An Umno party man told Malay Mail yesterday, before the party confirmed the news, that Annuar’s removal was because many in the party were unhappy with the Federal Territories minister’s staunch defence of Bersatu, a breakaway party headed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Umno grassroots have made their unhappiness at working together with Bersatu known in their party’s recent divisional meetings and demanded their leadership contest all seats in the next general election to fully take control of Putrajaya again.
Umno members have been seething at the perceived loss of their privileges under the Bersatu-led administration since last March.