Melaka state assembly speaker Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh arrives for the Umno supreme council meeting at Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on October 14, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — Senior Umno leaders have begun arriving at the party headquarters here for a supreme council meeting to decide their position on the state election in Melaka.
Among those seen entering Menara Dato Onn here include Melaka state legislative Speaker and Melaka Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Rauf Yusoh and caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali who both walked in around 8.20pm.
It is believed the meeting was scheduled for 8pm.
Earlier today, Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the party would decide tonight whether it would contest the state election independently with Barisan Nasional or as part of a larger coalition.
This is despite Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announcing yesterday that the party and BN will be standing alone in the Melaka polls, without PAS or Bersatu that were nominally allies.
Ahmad Zahid’s statement has brought into question the longevity of the party’s Muafakat Nasional charter with PAS, a hastily cobbled alliance that was formed between the parties after Barisan Nasional was defeated at the 2018 elections.
Leaders seen arriving earlier include Umno vice president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Baling MP, Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahman, Jelebu MP Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias were sighted entering the building just after 8pm.
This was followed by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, and Lenggong MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, and Pahang state executive member Datuk Shakar Samsudin.
Ahmad Zahid and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob were not seen entering from the main lobby but are believed to have entered the building through the basement entrance away from the press.
The need for a new state government, which would be the third in as many years in Melaka, was triggered by the withdrawal of support for Umno’s Sulaiman Md Ali by four assemblymen, causing him to lose the majority.
The four are Datuk Seri Idris Haron (Sungai Udang), Datuk Noor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundur), Datuk Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas), and Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu).
Idris, a former chief minister, and Noor Azman were later sacked by Umno for their betrayal of the BN-led government, while Noor Effandi was also dismissed by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. Norhizam, formerly from DAP, is an independent.
Following their withdrawal, Melaka Governor Tun Mohd Ali Rustam consented to the dissolution of the state assembly, which triggered the requirement for snap polls within 60 days.