Monday, April 19, 2021

Umno needs new political alignment, Zahid sets the tone for general assembly outcome

The Umno president urges delegates at the party's general assembly to accept the Supreme Council's decision to cut ties with Perikatan Nasional.

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Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi did not mince words today in calling for the party to turn to new alliances as well as to form a “unity government” after the next general election, as he roused delegates into accepting the Supreme Council’s decision to cut ties with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government at the next polls.

“Today’s political reality requires Umno to make new political alignments to pursue its founding goals.

“That is the reason the Umno leadership rejected cooperation with Bersatu, after we realised the dishonesty of their political schemes against Umno,” he told party delegates gathered in Kuala Lumpur today.

The Umno Supreme Council is seeking approval from delegates for its decision in February to cut ties with Bersatu, on the back of a fervent campaign by Zahid, former prime minister Najib Razak and a group of Umno leaders.

Zahid today said the decision to cut ties with Bersatu reflects the sentiments of the grassroots, and quoted a hadith (tradition) of Prophet Muhammad on avoiding harm to show that the move was sanctioned by Islam.

He said Umno’s experience in Sabah, which ended with a chief minister from Bersatu chosen to helm the state following the election last year, was proof of Bersatu’s ill intents towards Umno.

“Beware! Their machinations will not stop as long as Umno is not destroyed,” he said.

Zahid’s stand is in tandem with recent gestures between his party and PKR in seeking to form an alliance against PN at the next general election.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim recently admitted to having talks with Umno leaders.

In October, Zahid and Najib wrote a letter to the palace expressing support for Anwar’s bid to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Both leaders have also urged PAS to rethink its decision to be part of PN, reminding the Islamist party of its Muafakat Nasional charter with Umno signed in 2019.

Zahid in his speech today again reminded PAS of this, saying it is not too late for the party to exit the PN coalition.

“Let us stand on the same ground. There is nothing to gain from being apart. And certainly not additional seats,” he said.

Zahid said Umno was open to forming a coalition with others after the election, but that the party must first dominate the nation’s politics again.

“We must be dominant, only then can we be relevant.

“As such, the Umno leadership at all levels as well as the grassroots must be open to this political reset.”

Yet, Zahid went on to claim that there have been no discussions with Pakatan Harapan.

“No PPBM, No Anwar, No DAP! We will contest under the banner of Barisan Nasional,” he added.

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