KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said Umno must avoid being seen as opportunistic and remember that only “powerless” individuals in the party are playing the early election card.
The Padang Rengas MP also implied that he did not see the urgency in the situation since the prime minister himself is a member of Umno.
The vocal lawmaker said the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition risked appearing like it had abandoned the people, which it had pledged to put first in the pandemic, if the call for a premature general election was heeded.
“I thought that our party defends the people. BN prioritises the people. But until we see an opportunity to win big (despite the current public health crisis), is this for the sake of the people or is it for the sake of the party?
“Please use your brain. Don’t let a slogan just be a slogan. When it turns into a reality, we become opportunists. Suddenly, we see an opportunity to win like we did in Johor and Melaka… We have to ask the people; it is they who are suffering,” he told reporters on the sidelines of his party’s general meeting at the World Trade Centre (WTC) here.
Commenting further on his party colleagues who are pushing for an early general election, Nazri said there are terms in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the Opposition bloc that had yet to be met, one of which he cited as the anti party-hopping law.
“If today we announce that we would like an early election to happen, it does not show that we are sincere about implementing the law,” the former law minister added.
Earlier today, another Umno lawmaker, Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also the health minister, said the prime minister had the final say on whether Parliament should be dissolved to trigger a general election amid the pandemic.
Khairy said that he was confident that as the head of government, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, would keep the public health situation in mind.
Yesterday, Nazri reminded Umno leaders not to overstep their authority in pushing for the 15th general election (GE15) to be held this year.
While he did not name names, it is understood that Nazri was referring to Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s opening speech on Wednesday for the party’s wings, in which he said it would be ideal for GE15 to take place this year, as Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) should “strike at enemies when they are weak”.