Ismail Sabri Denies Rift Within Umno Says He S Close Friends With Zahid
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has debunked rumours that he no longer sees eye to eye with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, assuring instead that they are close friends.
Asked to address speculations of an internal rift between the two top Umno leaders, Ismail Sabri said he had known Zahid since they were students, and they have remained close friends.
"The president and I are like this," the premier told journalists during an interview at Seri Perdana on Wednesday, as he hooked two fingers together to demonstrate their tight friendship.
"I have no issue (with him). I have known the president for a long time, since I was in school.
"He has been my brother's best friend since they were together in Universiti Malaya. They were roommates. Even during the days when I played truant, I used to hang out in his room.
"I know him, his family, even his wife I have known for a long time. And until today, I am still close with him (Zahid). So there is no issue. I have no personal issue with him," Ismail Sabri said.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri YaakobDespite being in the same party, Zahid was said to be unhappy with Ismail Sabri as the latter adopted a friendly approach with Bersatu and Perikatan Nasional.
The Umno vice-president was made prime minister last year when the party assumed power after forcing then premier Muhyiddin Yassin from Bersatu to step down.
General election discussions
Ismail Sabri was also seen as not being on the same page with Zahid, who wanted to hold the next general election as soon as possible.
However, the PM denied a split in Umno and among its top five leaders over the matter.
"Outsiders are saying there is a split in Umno. But the top five leaders meet almost all the time.
"Let's say the top five hold meetings once every month. On top of this, I would even visit Zahid at his house during my free time.
"But I am not the kind of person who will go tell the world or hold a press conference to announce that I went to the party president's house," he said.
Ismail Sabri said top Umno leaders did discuss the next polls among themselves, and each has their own opinion.
However, all of them understood that the power to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament was in the prime minister's hand, he added. - Mkini
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