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KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he has managed to convince Umno ministers to remain in his Cabinet for the benefit of the country, following a meeting with them on Monday.
Muhyiddin met the Umno ministers a day after their party decided at its annual assembly to end the political cooperation with his Bersatu and eventually withdraw support for his Perikatan Nasional administration.
“I had advised them to continue staying on in the Cabinet. This is taking into account the interest of the people and the country,” Muhyiddin said in a statement.
“Some of the ministers from Umno hold important portfolios relating to the government's main focus now. Therefore, I do not want their resignations from the Cabinet to affect all of the government's planning to address the Covid-19 issue and to recover the nation's economy.
“Praise Allah, upon the advice that I gave, an agreement was reached that all of the Umno ministers will stay on in the Cabinet. With this unity, I assure that the Cabinet will function as usual and all of the government initiatives would continue being executed as planned,” he added.
Last week, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that his party’s official decision to end its political cooperation with Bersatu for the 15th general election (GE15) meant the party is no longer divided on the matter.
Speaking to the press after the conclusion of the party’s 75th annual general assembly last weekend, Zahid said the motion introduced to the delegation and the party leadership to sever ties with Bersatu was unanimously accepted.
Following the decision, Umno advisory board chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah urged his party’s leaders serving the PN administration to quit their government positions immediately.
The Umno veteran said the ministers, deputy ministers and heads of government-linked companies should resign since their party has made it clear it will not work with the PN coalition under Bersatu in the next general election.
He said Ahmad Zahid made this very clear when he declared the party will contest the general election on its own under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner.
In his speech, Zahid also said the party was considering another ultimatum, which is to immediately withdraw support for PN the moment the Emergency is lifted on August 1 or earlier, but added that this will be discussed at length in the next supreme council meeting.