PETALING JAYA, Mar 5: Umno’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob may be named as deputy prime minister and general elections called before August if Umno ditches the governing coalition, according to a proposal by a number of PPBM Supreme Council members, a source said.

One source said Parliament was expected to sit in August and PPBM would definitely know Umno’s final stand on its cooperation with Perikatan Nasional (PN) by then.

“By then, we will know whether Umno is still with us or has withdrawn support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin,” he told FMT.

Due to this, some Supreme Council members have agreed to push for Ismail to be made Muhyiddin’s deputy so he could woo Umno members to support PN before the next general election.

“His role will be to convince Umno members to work with PN. Even Arau MP Shahidan Kassim has agreed to work with the ruling coalition,” he added. Ismail is currently the defence minister.

The source said PN would invite Umno for talks in a month to negotiate seat allocations.

“We are waiting for them. Right now, the negotiations can only be held among PPBM, PAS and Gerakan.

“In a way, our discussions are stalled because we are not sure if Umno will still work with us in GE15,” he added.

Several political pundits have said that the conviction of Umno bigwigs facing corruption charges is likely, following the declaration of emergency in January.

The six senior Umno leaders facing trials are Najib Razak, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Ahmad Maslan, Tengku Adnan Mansor, Azeez Abdul Rahim and Bung Moktar Radin.

Zahid had sent a letter recently declaring that Umno would not cooperate with PPBM in the next general election and that the party would only work with the government until Parliament is dissolved.

However, the source told FMT that if Umno still refuses to work with PPBM, the PN government is likely to call for elections before the planned parliamentary sitting in August.

“But all these are not conclusive as things are fluid at the moment. We are hoping all three Malay parties will work together. We will talk with Umno first,” he added.

Another source said political developments in the country were in a way positive as no single party can now claim to have the majority.


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