PETALING JAYA: Umno leaders are expected to toe the party's line, including any decision made regarding the political ties with Bersatu, for the General Election, says Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The Padang Rengas MP, who was responding to concerns from Tan Sri Annuar Musa over Umno's decision to withdraw support for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, said the latter did not speak for Barisan Nasional.
"He may have an opinion, but once the party decides, then we have to support.
"If he feels otherwise, then that's his problem, not the party's," Nazri told The Star.
Annuar has been vocal against Umno's decision to terminate cooperation with Bersatu and had claimed the decision was never conveyed to Umno divisions and grassroots.
Meanwhile, Nazri said Barisan, as a 70-year-old political coalition, must be strong-willed and courageous enough to take on the election alone.
He cited the past experiences of DAP, PAS and PKR.
"DAP and PAS lost many times in the elections and yet they still go to the elections alone. So, why shouldn't Umno?" he questioned.
"We don't want to tumpang (free ride). We are a dominant party with more than 70 years of history, why should we be the second party? We must be dominant and believe in ourselves."
Nazri also said Barisan had learned its bitter lesson of cooperating with Perikatan Nasional in the Sabah state election last year.
"We ended up losing the chief minister's position, sabotaged by them in three-cornered fights. So, I think we learned from this experience."
During the Sabah state election last year, BN, PN and PBS, which are part of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, clashed in 17 seats.
At the same time, Nazri also said he does not believe in a Malay-Muslim government.
"I believe in a Malaysian government. We have to be multiracial, that's why I insist on Barisan, not Umno," he added.
Earlier Thursday (March 4), Umno secretary general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said the decision to notify Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of severing ties with Bersatu came about after considering the views of party grassroots.
Ahmad also said the decision was made after careful consideration, and after weighing the pros and cons of the party's inclusion in the Perikatan government.
Recently, an Umno letter signed by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had circulated on social media, claiming that the party's supreme council had decided in a Feb 9 meeting not to cooperate with Bersatu in the 15th general election.
The letter addressed to Muhyiddin also stated that Umno would continue to give its support to the Perikatan government until Parliament is dissolved.