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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi must provide guidance on whether the party should keep up alliances that were costing rather than benefiting it, said Datuk Mohamad Hasan.
The Umno deputy president said this was obvious from the outcome of the 16th state election when the Malay nationalist party was forced to concede the chief minister’s position to Bersatu despite winning the most seats of any single party.
He also alleged that promises made regarding the division of Sabah portfolios were also almost broken.
“As such, the time has come for the Umno president to offer guidance and a clear direction to the party and its members on whether we should continue our cooperation with our political rivals,” he said in a statement today.
“A political consensus must be upheld to have results, to assuage concerns, dissatisfaction and anger among members over how Umno was treated in the Sabah state election.”
Mohamad’s remarks today were the most patent so far on how some sections of Umno viewed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and the Perikatan Nasional coalition.
While the two supposed partners have maintained a testy and occasionally hostile alliance, neither side has openly described the other as a “political rival”.
Today, the Umno leader commonly called Tok Mat said what occurred in Sabah could foretell his party’s fate unless reversed.
“What happened in Sabah requires Umno to rethink its political approach. If Sabah becomes the basis, Umno’s survival, influence and visibility will continue to be threatened in the short-term, which will ultimately weaken Umno,” he said in a statement today.
If need be, he said Umno should return to cooperating only with PAS through Muafakat Nasional and with Barisan Nasional and its remaining components.
However, he said such a decision must be made urgently in order for Umno to adequately prepare for the 15th general election.
“We will be valued for what we can offer to Malaysia. Not how much sacrifices we make to a certain party or for the survival of Perikatan Nasional,” he said.
Umno and Bersatu remain cold towards one another despite being nominal allies in the federal administration.
In July, Zahid announced that Umno would not join a formal PN that has since been registered as an official entity.
He said then that Umno and BN lawmakers’ support for the PN government was only in matters of confidence and supply.
If their cooperation is maintained, Umno, Bersatu and PAS will have to enter bruising seat negotiations for the general election as all three parties appeal to the same Malay electorate and will unavoidably cannibalise each other’s support base.
In the nearer term, a review of Umno’s support for PN could make Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin vulnerable to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claim of having secured the majority to form the new government.