Zahid insists on PAS link-up despite opposition

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi delivers his speech during the party’s annual general assembly at PWTC in Kuala Lumpur September 30, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi delivers his speech during the party’s annual general assembly at PWTC in Kuala Lumpur September 30, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has again defended the Umno’s alliance with rivals PAS, insisting at its annual general assembly here that the move would help the party regain federal power.

The Umno president’s persistence came amid growing opposition to the strategy among party grassroots, who made their views heard during the two-day congress.

Zahid was adamant that an Umno-PAS alliance was part of a necessary consolidation exercise to strengthen the new Opposition.

“I believe we must work towards a new bloc to strengthen political co-operation among all opposition parties,” he said when winding up the 2018 Umno annual general assembly here.

“We have done the calculation and this new bloc will give us at least five million votes,” he added.

Zahid and several top Umno leaders are actively pursuing an alliance with PAS after most of its allies left the Barisan Nasional coalition following its election defeat.

Both the parties share 68 parliament seats and the lion’s share of conservative Malay support.

But more recently, Zahid said Umno is also open to linking with Pakatan Harapan parties, a strategy meant to pave way for Umno’s return to power.

Yet in his opening speech of the Umno AGM on Saturday Zahid said his party would intensify its attack on the new government.

Concluding the AGM, the Umno president said alligning with PAS at a time when support for PH is seen as dwindling could see support for both the parties increase by the next election.

He then called on the party to trust his decisions.

“PH is already losing support because they are seen as reneging on their promises,” he said.

“And that means if the new bloc works, we will have additional support on top of the guaranteed five million votes,” he added.

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