PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says his statement that Barisan Nasional is ready to brave floods if it coincides with the 15th General Election (GE15) has been taken out of context.
The Umno president said this was meant to show Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that the Barisan election machinery was ready to ensure victory in GE15, regardless of the situation.
"My statement has been manipulated by other parties saying that we (Barisan) do not care for the people's safety," he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Sept 21).
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Barisan chairman, took a jab at Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional, which he said were the ones that had disregarded the people's safety when they were the government.
"When the people asked for inbound travellers from Covid-19-struck countries to be barred from entering Malaysia, the 22-month administration (Pakatan) played down those calls.
"As a result, the first local Covid-19 case was reported in January 2020 involving several Chinese citizens who entered Malaysia through Johor.
"The next would be where more than 25,000 lives were lost due to the virus," he said.
The Bagan Datuk MP also said the 17-month Perikatan administration ignored calls for a total lockdown when Covid-19 infections spiked last year.
"Instead, what we got was the longest 'half-baked' lockdown in the world, which destroyed the economy and turned everyone's lives upside down.
"Many lost their rice bowls with some even having to wave the white flag to beg for food," he said, in reference to the white flag movement during the movement control order.
Ahmad Zahid added that calls for GE15 had been sounding since Malaysia was transitioning to the endemic phase.
"We asked for the mandate to be given back to the people so they can vote in a government that is strong and united in tackling the country's future after the pandemic.
"The excuse of our rivals being afraid of GE15 being held during the floods is not something new but rather to save their political careers," he said.