KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — Umno has not granted autonomy to its state chapters or divisions to continue any political cooperation with neither PAS nor Bersatu in the 15th general election, its party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said.

He told Umno state and grassroots leaders to refer to the decisions made at the 2021 party general assembly in March instead, Utusan Malaysia reported today.

“So far we are sticking to the decision of the general assembly last March. The decision is for the whole party and there are no exceptions. The decision has not been changed and it is the highest decision.

“The assembly did not mention exceptions in any state,” Ahmad was quoted as saying.

Umno, PAS and Bersatu formed a tenuous alliance to oust the elected Pakatan Harapan coalition from government in early 2020, but the rifts continue to widen, causing the three parties to contest against each other in recent state elections that have bolstered Umno’s position at the head of the pack.

But Selangor Umno chief Tan Sri Noh Omar has been reported to be supportive of continuing the political cooperation between his party and Islamist PAS under the Muafakat Nasional (MN) banner for the coming general election, which many believe will be called before the year is out.

Other state Umno chapters, including Penang, have been reportedly keen to adopt the same approach.

But Ahmad believes that the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) is able to forge ahead in GE15 without teaming up with anyone else and cited its overwhelming victories in the Melaka and Johor state elections to back his claim.

He said voters in the two states have come to accept BN again when asked how confident he was of the coalition’s chances in GE15.

“So I hope the victory can be given in Selangor as well as some other states.

“Regarding MN, we didn't touch it at all during the Assembly last March. We only said BN will go solo,” he was quoted saying.