Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin today hinted that Umno may not co-operate with Bersatu to win Sabah. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin today hinted that Umno may not co-operate with Bersatu to win Sabah. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — 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.

“He has his party, we have ours. Bersatu exists in Sabah only because of a group of traitors.

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

He was not alone in suggesting Umno may not co-operate with Bersatu to win Sabah.

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.