Najib: Umno never agreed to let ‘smallest’ party dominate in name of Muslim unity

Former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the 2021 Umno annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the 2021 Umno annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur March 27, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today that Umno never agreed to let its smaller counterpart Bersatu hold power even as it decided to back Perikatan Nasional and supported the idea of Malay-Muslim unity.

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed at the party’s 75th general assembly over the weekend that the party support for Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to be prime minister hinged on several conditions, including that he dissolves Parliament and call for elections by the first quarter of this year.

The revelation has since prompted Bersatu leaders to accuse Umno of being “power-crazy” at the expense of Malay unity.

“BN (Barisan Nasional) never promised to contest side by side with PPBM (Bersatu) in the 15th general election. BN never signed anything to join PN. BN never backstabbed any parties in BN. This has nothing to do with any clusters, negotiations with PKR or claims of ‘power-crazy’ thrown as propaganda daily by the other side,” Najib wrote on his Facebook page.

“All these were pledges, conditions and stance we have adopted since the very beginning. And we never agreed that the prerequisite for ummah unification would be the bigger power be led by the smallest party,” the former Umno president added.

Umno formally cut ties with the splinter group and PN in a decision Ahmad Zahid claimed was unanimously reached at the party’s congress. The Umno president said Muhyiddin had backpedalled on the agreement to hold elections by the first quarter this year, forcing Umno to act.

The decision has rocked ties with PAS that is now a member of a formalised electoral pact with Umno, the Muafakat Nasional.

Najib said Umno has always respected the pact but conceded that relations with PAS are now “tested”. The latter party has refused to leave PN.

“We announced that we would support PN (only) until GE15, we fulfilled it,” he said.

“We signed to collaborate with PAS, we are still fulfilling it even when this collaboration is being tested,” he added.

The former prime minister, on trial for dozens of corruption charges relating to the multi billion ringgit 1MDB scandal, is among those vocal in calling for an end to the cooperation with Bersatu.

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