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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 ― It is in Umno’s interests that MCA, MIC and Gerakan win more seats in the next general election, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today as he urged allies from the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties to be less defensive of constructive criticism.
The Umno leader has been under attack from coalition partners for saying they had to rely on “parachuting” their leaders and candidates into safe areas rather than fielding locals in elections.
Nazri asserted that none of his recent remarks were personal, in response to MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam’s counter-criticism, adding that the latter should be mature and learn to accept criticism to strengthen the coalition.
He pointed out that Umno’s loyalty is still with the non-Bumiputra BN parties although they have yet to win more seats for the coalition.
“I merely stated the fact and the truth because I want MCA, MIC and Gerakan to win as I don’t want Umno to form a government with our foes even though if it comes to that it is an option to us,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
“We are loyal to our political allies, we want them to win too, what’s so secretive then about my statement that should not be discussed in the public?
“I only requested component parties to put in local candidates to contest, this is what we the Bumiputera parties in BN do. They are not short of local candidates to represent MIC, MCA and Gerakan,” he explained.
Nazri said that Dr Subramaniam should be aware that privacy when it comes to politics is almost impossible, and issues such as local candidates should be discussed in public.
“Subra is caught in a time warp, he wants to keep a lot of things from the public. It is politicians like him who still think the public are stupid and naive.
“With openness comes the truth, you cannot lie and the truth whether it hurts must be told and it is a fact and the truth that Umno is the strongest political party in peninsular malaysia and the backbone of BN,” Nazri said.
To illustrate his point, Nazri pointed out that Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently went to Penang and spoke to BN and Umno leaders, and how the issues raised were reported by the media.
“It was reported, and these things have to be out in the open. You cannot suppress it, if it’s not reported by the press, someone else will talk about it.
“Datuk Seri Zahid met Umno leaders, and gave his input, and the media reported on it that’s how it should be. I hope that Subra will be mature enough as president of political party to know that what we discuss in public is nothing personal,” Nazri added.
“Even the Opposition, their problems with allies are also in the open. What’s there to be ashamed about this is the era of the Internet. The public and netizens are not stupid,” the Padang Rengas MP said.
Yesterday, Dr Subramaniam said that public spats between Barisan Nasional leaders only benefit rivals in the opposition, and that it was vital for BN leaders to consider the coalition’s overall interests and not only that of their own parties.
Nazri told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview that Umno was the dominant party in BN because other components had to rely on “parachuting” their leaders and candidates into safe areas rather than fielding locals to contest.
He cited Dr Subramaniam as an example, pointing out the latter was MP for Segamat despite being a Penang native.
This prompted MCA’s Datuk Ti Lian Ker, who was already openly critical of Umno, to challenge the tourism and culture minister to join DAP, accusing Nazri of favouring the opposition party more than his own allies in BN.
Ti has also accused Umno of hurting its allies through the use of scare tactics and communal politics, saying this hampered the ability of the non-Malay parties to secure the support of the communities they profess to represent.
Nazri mocked Ti by saying that he has more respect for DAP as it at least has the support of voters, and called the MCA central committee member a “reject”.