KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz confirmed today that he has been appointed the secretary-general of Barisan Nasional (BN), after a surprise announcement by Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi this morning.
Nazri told The Star he was informed of his role about three months ago.
“Yes, I am the new secretary-general, as announced by Datuk Seri Zahid. I was informed about it three months ago,” he reportedly said.
“We will start engaging with other component parties in Barisan and then followed by other parties,” he replied, when asked about his plan after the appointment.
Zahid was earlier reported suggesting that BN be rebranded with a new name, ahead of its efforts to retake Putrajaya in the next election.
“For me, the ‘Alliance 1.0’ was formed in 1955. ‘Alliance 2.0’ or BN was created in 1974 with Umno, MCA and MIC as the core parties.
“Now in 2018, I suggest that ‘Alliance 3.0’ become a coalition of parties just like BN,” Zahid was quoted saying at the MIC general assembly by Malaysiakini.
Zahid reportedly said the new BN will include five core parties, bloc partners and other NGOs.
Earlier, he had mulled letting the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) and other Indian parties into the coalition, and expressed his hope that Islamist party PAS will continue to be a political partner.
Speaking to The Star, Nazri agreed with Zahid’s suggestion, saying the rebranding and restructuring would make BN more dynamic.
“We need to be brave and courageous, just like what Tun Abdul Razak did after the 1969 general election. The Alliance Party was renamed and rebranded as Barisan Nasional. It was well-received,” he told the the paper.
“Just like Pakatan Harapan. It was previously Pakatan Rakyat. We should sit down and discuss about it, to create a new political dynamic,” he added, saying that BN does not even exist in Sabah anymore after the state Umno joined Gabungan Bersatu Sabah.
Prior to its defeat in the 14th general election, BN had comprised 13 parties.
There are now only five component parties: Umno, MCA, MIC, myPPP and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah.