Monday, March 8, 2021

Zahid’s ‘ceasefire’ call his own, changing PM no cure for pandemic, says Annuar

The Umno leader says the country is facing a triple crisis of politics, health and economy.

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A member of Umno’s Supreme Council says the call by his party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for a “political ceasefire” was made after taking into account all views during a meeting yesterday.

Annuar Musa, who is the federal territories minister, also denied a report by MalaysiaNow that a meeting at the Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday had lasted four hours.

“The president and Umno understood that the people are the priority especially when it involves lives and health,” he said.

Yesterday, Zahid urged his party to strengthen the Perikatan Nasional government, days after it was revealed that he and former leader Najib Razak had written to the Agong expressing support for the appointment of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.

Anwar had been ratcheting up his plan to take over Putrajaya through defections of MPs, but it soon emerged that he failed to give details of his support during a half-hour audience with the Agong on Oct 13.

The contents of Zahid’s letter, first reported by MalaysiaNow, drew strong reactions from Umno leaders, with its adviser Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah warning that those promoting outsiders could be sacked.

Zahid’s call is seen as an about-turn, in the wake of his claims that his party had been sidelined for senior government posts under Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.

MalaysiaNow also reported yesterday that following the collapse of Anwar’s plan, several Umno MPs known as the “court cluster” could force a snap election by not voting to pass the budget next month.

Zahid, Najib and at least four other Umno MPs are facing multiple charges of corruption, breach of trust and money laundering.

Annuar said the government must be given time and the stability needed to overcome the Covid-19 crisis.

“The budget is also needed to finance all the plans including operations to protect the people’s lives.”

Yesterday, MalaysiaNow reported that any move to derail the budget from being passed could lead to snap polls.

There have been fears that a general election at this point, where a fresh wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 60 lives within three weeks, could lead to a health disaster.

Annuar said the Covid-19 crisis is unparalleled and requires the authorities to come up with its own solutions.

“Indeed, we are going through political, health and economic emergencies, among others,” he said, adding that the Election Commission should come up with proper SOPs before a by-election can be held in Batu Sapi, the parliamentary seat made vacant by the death of its incumbent Liew Vui Keong early this month.

Annuar also warned against any attempt to disrupt political stability during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Changing the PM won’t stop the virus. A general election will not save the people, instead it will create more mess,” he said.

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