Some 200 Umno members from a division in Kuala Lumpur are expected to quit and join Amanah, reveal party insiders.
Those in the thick of negotiating the move say this had been planned over the past month as “Umno leaders lacked focus and foresight in mending the wounded party”.
Amanah Federal Territories secretary Ismail Yahaya met several Umno members at a restaurant in Gombak on Thursday night.
An party insider revealed the Umno members “have no option but to jump ship” given the party’s current predicament.
“The (Umno) leaders are thinking of positions when they should be telling us how they plan to move forward.”
“Now (Datuk Seri Ahmad) Zahid Hamidi has been charged and some people are already talking about who should take over. What’s the use of discussing who should be president when till today no one has spoken about the direction of the party … (to the Umno leaders) it’s all about winning positions, but not winning the hearts of the people.”
Umno will soon decide if Ahmad Zahid will be asked to go on leave after he claimed trial to 45 charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power involving over RM114 million on Friday.
Ahmad Zahid’s deputy, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, said it was stated in the administration’s standard operating procedure that any Umno member who is charged will be asked to go on leave of duty. The individual, however, will retain the post if he or she is found not guilty.
Why Amanah and not Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia?
“We have surveyed, asked … we were told Pribumi does not want Umno members. So our next best choice is Amanah,” the Umno member said.
Ismail, however, downplayed the meeting.
“I wasn’t there for long. They (Umno members) just wanted to know the process involved in joining Amanah. That’s about it. I left early,” Ismail said.
“Many former Umno members have joined us post-May 9. We welcome them as long as they fulfill our criteria and have no ill intentions.
“But we are mindful as to who we accept as we don’t want to offend our existing members, some who have served us since Day 1.”
Ismail said he was unsure of the exact number of disgruntled Umno members from Kuala Lumpur who want to join Amanah.
If this move materialises, it will further dent Umno’s already bruised and battered ego.
Picture of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi waving and greeting supporters outside the High Court at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur on Oct 19 taken by MediaUMNO.