Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan has insisted that the Malay party must be in the driver’s seat in any future cooperation, in a speech setting the tone of the Umno general assembly today.
Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said Umno was prepared to sit with any party as long as it benefits Umno, Malays and Islam.
“What is important is, any party that wants to work with us must believe in Umno’s ability to be in the driver’s seat. Not a second player who is simply picked up to fulfil the quota, or the number of seats required.
“There is no party or individual who can tell or direct Umno how and with whom we should negotiate to form a government,” Mohamad said in his speech to officiate the three wings of Umno Youth, Wanita, Puteri in Kuala Lumpur.
Mohamad also said Umno would not compromise on the distribution of seats with its political allies.
“Umno seats are Umno seats, then, now and forever. They are not to be given away in order to extend a lifeline to any party,” he said.
He said Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) are a “living entity” that is ready to adapt to any new political formula.
He also said Umno should prepare to go through a process of political correctness, saying it is trying to survive in a challenging era that demands that the party leave its comfort zone.
Mohamad expressed confidence that Umno would return to its former glory when it dominated the federal government as part of BN.
He said it was critical for the party to win the next general election.
“Umno must immediately return to being the government in a dignified, democratic manner and based on the real mandate of the people.
“This election is very critical. There are only two possibilities. Either we win and govern, or we are again in the opposition to be trifled with.
“At this time, we do not have Plan B, or any other plan. We must win,” he added.
The general assembly this time is convened on the back of calls by several party leaders to cut ties with Bersatu.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his predecessor Najib Razak have been at the forefront of attacks against the Perikatan Nasional government.
At the heart of their grievances is that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who formed Bersatu after his fallout with Najib over the 1MDB scandal in 2015, has sidelined Umno in filling key government posts.