A PKR leader close to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says it is not impossible for Umno to join the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition as a growing number of leaders from the opposition pact express confidence in forming the government subject to more Umno MPs toeing their party line.
Saifuddin Nasution, the PKR secretary-general who together with Zahid was among Umno Youth leaders who stood against Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the latter’s reign in Umno in the 1990s, said both PH and Umno share common principles such as good governance, the protection of the special status of Malays and the defence of Islam.
“Refer to Clause 3, Article 3 in the Umno constitution – the objective of Umno’s formation is to uphold, promote and defend Islam.
“If our policy on Islam, Umno has in Clause 3 Article 3, isn’t that a meeting point?” Saifuddin told Utusan Malaysia.
He dismissed the constant call by Umno leaders to shun any cooperation with PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP, saying such a stand is not the Malay party’s principle but merely a “sentiment”.
“I do not consider ‘No Anwar, No DAP’ a party policy. I just want to say that it is a party sentiment.
“There is a basic difference with sentiments. A policy remains but a sentiment can fade out, it’s not permanent,” he added.
He spoke of how Umno and PAS had signed their Muafakat Nasional pact despite the decades-long animosity between the two Malay parties.
He said their coming together showed that the hatred between Umno and PAS on the ground was just sentiment and not party policy.
His comments come as Zahid and former president Najib Razak step up a campaign to get MPs from Umno to revoke their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, with an ultimatum given to ministers from the party to quit the Cabinet without delay.
Last week, Zahid and Najib led about a dozen Umno leaders in a press conference to announce the immediate withdrawal of support for Muhyiddin in the hope of toppling the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
So far, two ministers from Umno, Shamsul Anuar Nasarah and Noraini Ahmad have resigned, the latter following intense pressure from Zahid on the women’s wing chief.
Some 30 Barisan Nasional MPs including Cabinet members and leaders from MCA and MIC have however scoffed at Zahid’s insistence for them to resign, saying they are still standing by the PN government.
Muhyiddin has agreed to put his support to test when the Dewan Rakyat convenes next month, a decision he informed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of during a recent audience.
Saifuddin meanwhile expressed hope that the resignation of the two ministers could eventually see Umno joining hands with PH to form the government.
“I share the view that if there is a fundamental meeting point with another party, it is something that is possible,” he added.