Tuesday, November 24, 2020

DAP leader rejects working with Umno amid talk of post-royal audience meeting

This is the second statement in a week by a senior DAP leader, further confirming that Anwar Ibrahim does not have a strong majority.

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DAP today questioned the response from Umno leaders to their president’s call for a political ceasefire, saying it had never cooperated with the Malay party to bring down the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

DAP’s organising secretary Loke Siew Fook said his party had always been committed to the agreement it signed with Pakatan Harapan, adding that its support for PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim was only within this framework.

“For the record, not a single DAP leader has ever expressed a readiness to work with Umno to form a new government,” Loke said in a statement, a day after Zahid’s about-turn in which he urged Umno to strengthen the PN government.

Last week, MalaysiaNow revealed that Zahid and his predecessor, former prime minister Najib Razak, had unilaterally written to the palace expressing support for Anwar’s plan to take over Putrajaya.

Zahid’s claim in the letter that “a number of Umno MPs” would back Anwar to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin sent shock waves through the Umno leadership, with several leaders hitting out at Zahid for supporting an outsider.

MalaysiaNow also reported that Zahid had come under intense pressure from senior Umno leaders, leading to his statement calling for a “political ceasefire”.

Speculation of secret meeting

Loke’s statement today rejecting any cooperating with Umno comes amid speculation that a DAP leader had attended a meeting with Zahid, Anwar and another senior Umno MP.

A source from Umno told MalaysiaNow that the meeting, held on Oct 16 – three days after Anwar’s half-hour palace audience – was arranged by Najib.

MalaysiaNow had earlier queried Loke on the speculation, but the DAP leader rejected a request for comment.

“There was no such meeting, so there is nothing to comment,” the former transport minister said.

An aide to Zahid also shot down the claim when contacted by MalaysiaNow, as did the “veteran Umno MP”, who brushed aside the claim.

Loke’s statement today is the second this week by a senior DAP leader rejecting any cooperation with Umno.

The two statements have only further confirmed that Anwar never had the “formidable majority” he claimed to have, as any such majority would need to include DAP’s 42 MPs as well as Umno’s 39.

Despite its close ties with Anwar, DAP had in the past rejected any form of cooperation with Umno especially if it involved Najib and Zahid.

The duo, who helmed the Barisan Nasional government until 2018, face a total of 79 corruption charges between them, and were the target of DAP’s aggressive roadshows in the run-up to the 2018 general election.

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