There was no meeting before political ceasefire announcement, says Barisan sec-gen

PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional denies holding any meeting prior to recently announcing a political ceasefire.

Barisan secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa (pic) said Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made the decision on his own after taking into consideration the views expressed by various parties.

"There was no meeting as reported.

"The president understands the need to put the interests of the rakyat first, especially when it involves public health and life (in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic)," he posted on Facebook on Thursday (Oct 22).

He was responding to a news portal claiming there was a four-hour meeting to make Zahid issue the ceasefire statement.

Zahid and his predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak had come under fire for purportedly submitting a letter to the Palace expressing support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the ninth prime minister.

Annuar said Covid-19 could not be eradicated by merely changing the prime minister, and that pushing for snap polls could further aggravate the situation as it would put the public at greater risk of contracting the virus.

"Billions of ringgit would need to be spent, and the nation risks going bankrupt because of Covid-19.

"We are already facing a political emergency, health emergency, and economic emergency.

"What is our initiative to escape from all these?

"Therefore, the president has made the right decision (in calling for a political ceasefire).

"The rakyat and the country must come first, not politics," he said.

Annuar said the government must also dare make unconventional decisions and think outside the box to resolve issues arising from the pandemic.

"We are facing an unprecedented situation.

"There are no references, except to look into various approaches and formulate our own prescription (to win the battle against the virus)," he said, adding that that Malaysia needs a stable government.

"The government needs time. Budget is needed for various actions and operations to safeguard lives," he said.

Annuar also said the Batu Sapi by-election should not be held until the situation was under control, although it was mandatory to hold it within the stipulated timeframe following the death of its elected representative Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

The Election Commission (EC) should also formulate a new and comprehensive standard operating procedure before the next general election, he said.

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