Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan set the tone of the party’s general assembly tonight by urging for the 15th general election to be held this year, saying that the time is right as its political enemies are at the weakest point.
“Winning the election and taking over the government will require that the election is held at the right time. The state elections in Melaka, Sarawak and Johor have given indications that the time is now. Firstly, because the opposition is very weak now,” Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said in his speech to officiate the Youth, Wanita and Puteri Umno assemblies.
He said Umno paid dearly in the 2018 polls due to the delay in calling for elections by then prime minister Najib Razak, which he said had allowed the opposition to consolidate to unite to defeat Barisan Nasional.
“Strike while your enemy is weak, and strike while the iron is hot. Don’t wait for them (opposition) to regroup, like during the 14th general election, they… Mahathir and Anwar kissed and made up, and only then had we called for elections. Sorry Najib.
“That was asking for trouble. Now is the right time for us to strike,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s cooperation with his former rival and Pakatan Harapan chairman Anwar Ibrahim, which saw the newly formed Bersatu becoming a member of the opposition coalition to end more than six decades of BN rule in 2018.
Mohamad said any delay in calling for elections “will open up potentials for the resurgence of the opposition”.
He said opposition forces were currently in disarray as was shown in recently held state elections.
“The opposition’s disunity is strategic for Umno. This is when we defeat them, when they are divided and at loggerheads.”
Tok Mat’s call reflects the stand taken by former leader Najib and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, both of whom are believed to be piling up pressure on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to dissolve parliament.
Zahid, who is facing 47 criminal charges, previously said that GE15 should be held before or by July this year.
Observers believe that he is looking to shore up his position before the party elections in November.
If both GE15 and the Umno elections are held while his trials are ongoing, Zahid may not be able to defend his position.