Umno is a national party, says Zahid Hamidi

UMNO is a national party and not a Malayan one, as it fights for all citizens, including Sabahans, its president, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

Zahid also said the decision to set up a Sabah chapter was not aimed at breaking up the Sabah-based parties, but to unite Malaysians under a common banner, Bernama reported.

He said it was the people of Sabah who wanted Umno to expand its wings in the state, adding that former chief minister and Usno president, the late Mustapha Harun, wanted East Malaysians and West Malaysians to come together.

“Umno initially had no intention to enter Sabah, but we were invited by its people.

“Sabahans wanted Umno to flourish in the state,” he was quoted as saying at an Aidifitri celebration organised by Putatan Umno in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday.

Zahid recalled that when he was the Umno Youth information chief, he had travelled to Sabah with forms to recruit members when the party was set up in the state.

In 2017, former chief minister Harris Salleh revealed that he was among the state’s four Malay leaders who officially wrote to then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to invite Umno to Sabah in 1986.

According to the Daily Express, Harris said the other three were Sakaran Dandai, Said Keruak and Ghani Gilong.

He said the decision to invite Umno to Sabah was because Parti Bersatu Sabah had failed to honour the pre-election agreement with Usno on the formation of a coalition government after the 1985 general election.

It was also done with the hope that through Umno, a Sabahan could become the prime minister.