: UMNO should not be dragged into the prime ministerial candidature polemic, its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
In a statement, Zahid said that instructions had been issued to UMNO and Barisan Nasional members of parliament (MPs) in defending the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
At the same time, the MP for Bagan Datuk said the party's focus should now be on issues related to the welfare and interests of the people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
"UMNO is aware that efforts are being made to challenge the position of the Prime Minister by those who want to take office," Zahid said.
Last week, UMNO and PAS had in principle agreed to continue supporting Muhyiddin as the prime ministerial candidate for the 15th General Election (GE15).
However, the decision was disputed by some quarters.
Among them was UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi who considered the proposal to nominate Muhyiddin as the prime ministerial candidate was feared to forfeit UMNO.
Meanwhile, UMNO Vice-President Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin had on Saturday named five UMNO candidates with the potential to be nominated as the party's prime minister, among them Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin.