KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Umno's Shahril Hamdan has stressed today that the party should not hesitate to end the government's memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakatan Harapan (PH) on July 31.
Lambasting critics within the party who said Umno is being influenced by enemies within to not continue the deal, the Umno information chief said the decision was already made by its Supreme Council and it would benefit the party as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri will now be free to decide on the general election's date.
"Who is 'we' as referred to in 'our enemy'? As I understand it the Supreme Council made several decisions on April 14, such as the MoU between government and Pakatan Harapan will not be continued after July 31,” said Shahril in a statement.
His remark came after the party's Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz labelled Umno as "its own biggest enemy”, alleging the party of being influenced by its senior politicians whom he said wanted an early election for their own gains as they are facing court cases.
"It's coming to the end of the term. Umno and the prime minister must have space to determine the appropriate date. That is why the party decided that after July 31, our hands will no longer be tied and the option will be in the hands of the PM,” said Shahril.
He stressed that while Umno can continue some parts of the deal such as its commitment to reform the Parliament and table the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, there should be no hesitancy to end the MoU on July 31.
The Umno’s general meeting in 2021 has decided on several issues such as discontinuing the MoU with the opposition after July 31, supporting the tabling and passing of the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, and agreeing on selecting Ismail Sabri as the next general election prime minister candidate.
The country is not due for a general election until September 2023.
While Shahril's statement today does not strictly contradict a previous one made by Umno's Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who was designated as a member of the government's MoU Negotiation and Implementation Committee, it puts a different spin on the agreement and its implications from next month onwards.
Annuar had last month reportedly said that the MoU has no "expiry date", and had merely agreed that the general election would not be held before July 31.