KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin today took a veiled jab at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), over a statement by its Pahang secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who claimed that there would be no more doubts as to which is the more dominant Malay party, should Bersatu, Umno and PAS join forces for the 15th general election.
In a statement today, the former Johor mentri besar refuted Saifuddin’s remarks, and seemingly sought to remind his coalition member that Umno is the dominant Malay party since independence, and a dominant force in Barisan Nasional (BN).
He also subtly brushed off Bersatu’s relevance in the coalition, saying that Umno and PAS already have enough strength on their own to soldier on.
“Truthfully, Umno and PAS have enough strength. The rest would only make the space a little bit too crowded.
“Because of Umno’s strength, BN can function well as an alliance. Umno not only provided the space and opportunities to Gerakan, MCA and MIC to contest in Malay-majority areas, but always even worked to ensure the victory of these component parties.
“BN party leaders who lost in the general election are also often appointed to various public interest positions, owing to the inclusiveness that Umno and BN fight for. All this is proof that even though Umno is dominant and a lynchpin party, it never denied the importance of other parties in BN. In fact, because of Umno’s strength, other BN component parties were also accepted, became strong and had representation in the government,” Mohamed Khaled said.
He added that the concept of a dominant Malay political party cannot be denied, as it has been around for far too long, stressing that a dominant Malay party is important in ensuring political stability at the national level.
“Whether or not this is a sensitive or insensitive statement, direct or indirect, this is the fact,” he said.
“Umno and PAS are partners of equal status in Muafakat Nasional. However, the strength is different. Umno is proven to be bigger with regards to its influence and strength at the grassroots. PAS also has its own advantage in representing the Malays,” he said, adding that it was based on this policy that Umno agreed to support the current government, to ensure a stable government, despite it having to compromise.
Mohamed Khaled then reminded that Umno still aims to become the government through BN, and with PAS’ help, “and no one can or should stop that”.
“Those who intend to belittle Umno’s influence are those who are actually weak and do not have any strength to offer to the Malay race in Malaysia. They just realise that Malay politics is important, but do not have any agenda to make it work. Such suggestions and views are not appropriate, and should not continue,” he said in reply to Saifuddin.
On October 29, national news agency Bernama reported Saifuddin as saying that the issue of which party will be more dominant if PPBM, PAS and Umno form a coalition to face the 15th general election should not arise, and that all parties should be willing to work together and prioritise the people’s interests and welfare, presently.
“Present-day politics should be viewed from the current situation. Let’s not be influenced by the old political framework which will make it difficult for us to work, as what is important is to place the people first.
“We should adopt an open attitude and the issue of who is riding (on someone) and dominating should not arise in forming a coalition of Malay parties,” he reportedly said.