Cooperation with Bersatu was decided by supreme council, not me, says Zahid

Photo: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno had wanted Parliament to be dissolved and the mandate returned to the people through fresh polls when the Pakatan Harapan government fell, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“However, since the pandemic was fast escalating, we agreed to give the premier's post to the person whose party held the fewest Parliament seats, ” the Umno president told delegates at the party's general assembly on Sunday (March 28).

Ahmad Zahid said the supreme council had agreed on March 12 last year for all Umno MPs to give en bloc support for the formation of a new government after the Pakatan government fell.

He said that Umno, however, had made its condition clear to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) that should the pandemic subside, Parliament should be dissolved by January 2021 to make way for the general election.

“It is necessary for me to reiterate the supreme council’s decision on cooperation with Bersatu for the new government and that this cooperation will cease once Parliament is dissolved.

“They understood this. There have been accusations that I applied my veto power (so that we can have this cooperation). Let me state that this is the decision made by the supreme council. Whatever decision it makes, will stay, ” he said.

Ahmad Zahid pointed out that a total of 24 divisional meetings had endorsed the grassroots’ decision not to cooperate with Bersatu in the next general election.

He said today’s political reality requires Umno to subscribe to major adjustments in charting the future, adding that the supreme council's decision not to work with Bersatu any longer shows that the party rejected dishonesty and insincerity.

“Our support for the formation of the Perikatan Nasional government was for the people. It was also to depose the Pakatan regime that failed to keep its manifesto promises during 22 months in power.

“Umno will never support that political pact. The grassroots have spoken. Their rejection for Umno to cooperate with Bersatu is reflective of their uneasiness towards the party, ” he said.

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