Zahid: Umno-BN will contest GE15 solo, but open to partners afterwards

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi waves at reporters at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur March 28, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi waves at reporters at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur March 28, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Umno will contest the 15th general election solely under the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition banner, its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today at the party’s 75th annual general assembly here.

All other political cooperation and alliances will only be considered after the election and will depend on how many seats it wins then, he added, nixing any possibility of reconciliation with splinter party Bersatu which is leading the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition before GE15.

“Realising and understanding current politics, BN must prepare to contest alone in GE15.

“Let me say it once and for all that for Umno to become dominant again after GE15, firstly we must win the most seats,” he said in his speech.

He added: “Secondly, be able to choose the right sincere and honest partners in forming the government”.

Elaborating, Zahid said that playing a “dominant” role politically did not mean arrogance, but rather a point of fact as “Umno is the largest Malay party”.

Party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan had earlier said Umno still has 3.35 million members as at March 26 — despite several breakaways over the past few years that have seen past leaders like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin form new political outfits that have also taken power at the federal level.

However, to Zahid, these moments when Umno was not in power meant a period of instability for Malaysians.

“When Umno was no more in power, the people did not enjoy stability,” he said.

He described the current political situation in the country as one rife with money politics, leading to numerous party crossovers.

“We are not egoistic but we are not so naïve as to be bullied. Not even being apologetic. Party hopping is getting rampant of late.  

“Dignity is exchanged for position and personal gain. The politics of ‘knife, pen and cheque book’ is applied by the government,” he said, and then asked: “Is this what we want to inherit?”

Zahid was alluding to the recent changes of allegiances from Opposition lawmakers to parties in power. Among them, a large number were from PKR, namely Julau MP Larry Sng, Tebrau MP Steven Choong, and Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, who all turned independent in support of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin from Bersatu.  

Zahid also hopes to strengthen Umno’s relationship with PAS via their Muafakat Nasional (MN) alliance and cautioned the Malay Muslim coalition not to rush into forming any new partnership.

“We have agreed that any party in Muafakat Nasional shouldn't be too hasty to join any political pact. Umno is firm with this and we will not allow ourselves to sway easily,’’ he said.

“We are convinced MN is widely accepted now and can open doors to Umno and BN to lead again. MN carries a lot of weight due to its success in the last seven-by-elections. It is also a political dynamism, a political reset.

Zahid also assured the party he maintains the policy of “No Anwar, No DAP and No Bersatu”, rejecting any political backroom talks with opposing parties.

Zahid also was referring to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and rightly refused the statement made by the PKR president that he has the support of Umno federal lawmakers to take on the Perikatan National administration.

Zahid said that the party is open to talks for any potential political partner only after GE15, but cautioned members that Umno must first win a significant number of seats.

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