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Zahid denies 'secret pact' with PH before GE15

The Umno president says there was no preliminary understanding with Pakatan Harapan.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
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Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi waves at the party's 2022 general assembly at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Jan 13. Photo: Bernama
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi waves at the party's 2022 general assembly at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Jan 13. Photo: Bernama

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today denied any preliminary understanding with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to form a joint government, saying no secret agreement had been signed without the party's consent ahead of the 15th general election in November. 
 
In his presidential policy speech in conjunction with the 2022 Umno general assembly, he said it would be unfair for the grassroots to continue pointing fingers at the party's leadership over the decisions made after the Nov 19 polls. 

"I don't need to lay out the details as it is now an open secret," he added. 

MalaysiaNow reported in October 2020 that Zahid and former leader Najib Razak had sent a letter to the Agong, stating their support for PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. 

Last year's election ended in a hung parliament, with no single coalition winning enough support to form the government on its own. 

Zahid, the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, played a vital role in pushing through the support of his MPs for Anwar despite strong resistance from senior leaders who referred to Umno's stand against cooperation with Anwar and DAP. 

Speaking today, Zahid said he had foreshadowed cooperation with PH in his policy speech at the 2020 general assembly, through talk of a "reset" for the country's political landscape. 
 
"For this to happen, the Umno leadership at all levels and the grassroots must be open-minded enough," he said, citing his speech which he said had been approved as party policy. 

Zahid was appointed as one of two deputy prime ministers in Anwar's Cabinet, returning to the post he had held until BN's downfall at the 2018 general election. 

His appointment was criticised due to the string of corruption charges against him, and his status as part of the so-called court cluster. 

Zahid said the party's decision to cooperate with its long-time foe was in line with the Agong's decree for the formation of a unity government. 

"The Supreme Council decided, choosing the lesser of two evils," he added. 

"Hopefully this explanation will put an end to this polemic. I know that this matter has been played up, especially with the Umno elections approaching."