KUALA LUMPUR — Despite being in government federally, Umno bared its fangs today at Perikatan Nasional (PN) co-affiliate Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and signalled each party will be on its own in the coming Sabah state election that must be called in the next 60 days.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin went on the offensive on Facebook in response to a news report citing Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor saying his party is gunning to contest in at least 45 out of the 65 seats in the state legislative assembly.

“Umno will continue to receive the support of the grassroots,” Khaled wrote on Facebook.

Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan was reported telling Bersatu “don’t dream” of contesting that many seats in Sabah.

“Today, Sabah Bersatu said they will contest 45 out of the 73 state seats in the upcoming Sabah election.

“Two words: Don’t dream,” he was quoted saying by Malaysiakini in a report earlier today.

Bersatu was formed in 2016 by leaders who broke away from Umno and initially allied with the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which came to power in the 2018 general elections, but withdrew in March to form the PN informal alliance with the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and PAS that is currently ruling Putrajaya.

Earlier today, national news agency Bernama reported Hajiji saying Bersatu is prepared to discuss with other parties in PN, Umno and other BN components to harness their strength to ensure victory in the Sabah election.

Shahril was also quoted saying that Bersatu should start acting like an ally if the party intends to remain friendly with Umno.

“We can discuss, we can negotiate. Sabah Umno has the autonomy to decide on the candidates and seats to be contested.

“But if Bersatu is already professing its intention to contest in 45 out of the 73 seats even before negotiations, then it is not based on wisdom and sincerity.

“In the current political scenario, Sabah Bersatu should think before making a move or statements as every action will impact the grassroots and it is not confined to Sabah,” Shahril told Malaysiakini.

He also expressed his confidence in Sabah Umno head Datuk Bung Moktar Radin to take charge of the state electoral campaign.

Citing ‘Malay solidarity’, Bersatu’s Wan Fayhsal hits back at Umno’s Shahril over Sabah seat tussle

KUALA LUMPUR — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia senator Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal has chastised Umno information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan after the latter dismissed the former’s party’s ambition to contest 45 seats in the Sabah state election.

The deputy youth minister said Shahril should not use unpleasant words against a senior leader of an autonomous state such as Sabah.

He then pivoted to bring DAP into the conversation, saying the former Bersatu ally had been “arrogant” and had brought the “old political ways” of Peninsular Malaysia into Sabah.

He suggested to Sabah Bersatu to discuss and negotiate with its Umno counterpart, if they are sincere in being friends.

Shahril added that the decision by Bersatu to announce the number of seats it wants to contest in even before negotiations between it and Umno has occurred is not a move ‘based on wisdom and sincerity’.

In a separate statement, Bersatu Youth executive council member Muzzammil Ismail also slammed Shahril for being “foul-mouthed” in resorting to attacks on social media.

Muzzamil also claimed that Umno had lost badly in Sabah in the last general election, questioning whether voters there have accepted Umno now.

On Thursday, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal announced the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly to pave the way for a state election, which has to be held within 60 days.

The announcement was made after Tan Sri Musa Aman announced that he had secured the support of enough lawmakers to represent a simple majority in the state assembly and could co nsequently take over the state administration.