PUTRAJAYA: Umno is part of Perikatan Nasional even though it is not a component party of the alliance, says party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“This is Umno’s stand. The supreme council’s decision on Perikatan is that we support it through our MPs but we are not a component member, ” he said.
Ahmad Zahid, however, said that Umno’s doors remain open to discuss its position in Perikatan.
He had chaired the supreme council meeting on this issue twice and had also sought the views of members of the political bureau as well as Umno state liaison chiefs.
“This is the decision of the supreme council. But Perikatan will have Umno’s support, ” he said in an interview in conjunction with the party’s 74th anniversary, which was posted on Umno’s website and Facebook page.
Umno was formed on May 11,1946.
This is the first time that Umno had made official its position on the much talked about formation of Perikatan.
Barisan Nasional, comprising Umno, MCA, MIC and Sabah’s PBRS as well as its Muafakat Nasional partner, PAS, had backed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Prime Minister to end a political impasse back in February.
This spelled an end to the Pakatan Harapan administration – which Bersatu was once part of – after 22 months in power.
On why Umno is not joining Perikatan as its component party, Ahmad Zahid said Umno had always been the backbone of a political coalition.
“We are the backbone of Barisan and we were the backbone during the days of the Alliance. We discussed it with our partners in Barisan and they are aware of our stand.
“But we have no objection if there are other parties that want to be a member of Perikatan, but everyone must respect Umno’s decision not to be a part of it, ” he said.
Asked if there is a possibility for Umno to have links with Bersatu like its current cooperation with PAS, the Umno president said: “That is why I have mentioned a few times in this interview that our doors are always open for discussions and possibilities.”
On his relationship with Muhyiddin, Ahmad Zahid said he regarded the Prime Minister as a friend and their relationship goes way back.
“Our personal relationship has been going on for the longest time, ” he puts it simply.
Ahmad Zahid shared that he had visited Muhyiddin after the latter completed his chemotherapy treatment.
“I paid a visit to him as a friend and not as Opposition leader, ” he said.
In 2018, Muhyiddin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had undergone surgery to remove the growth and several sessions of chemotherapy.
Umno, said Ahmad Zahid, must continue to be relevant, dominant and the backbone of Malaysian politics.
“Twenty-six years from now, the party will be 100 years old. And when that happens, Umno must continue to play a strong role in the government.
“For this to happen, Umno must be united. For the party to be strong, its leaders and members must set aside self-interest and work for the common good.
“People are depending on Umno to be strong and united. We must not let the people down. So let us all do our part to strengthen the party so we in return can serve the people, ” he said.
Did you find this article insightful?
56% readers found this article insightful