Barisan no longer dominant, says its chairman

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno must wake up to the fact that the Barisan Nasional coalition it leads is no longer dominant, says party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

This is evident from the fact that it has twice failed to garner enough parliamentary seats to form the Federal Government in consecutive general elections in 2018 and 2022, said Ahmad Zahid, who is also Barisan chairman.

“Two times we lost the general election. Therefore, in the six state elections, we must work hard and prove that any seats given to Barisan will be won.

“It is meaningless if we feel strong, but in reality, we are not successful,” he told reporters, saying that was his message to Umno delegates at a closed-door briefing at the World Trade Centre here yesterday ahead of the party’s 2023 annual general assembly or AGM.

The AGM is being held ahead of the six state elections expected to be called in August.

According to Ahmad Zahid, he told delegates that Barisan only managed to get 23% of the votes cast in GE15 while the coalition only garnered about 11% of the 222 parliamentary seats.

Due to this, Barisan entered a pact to form the unity government with its GE15 rival Pakatan Harapan.

He also responded to criticisms of Barisan’s cooperation with Pakatan, saying that it centred on DAP, a component party of the latter.

“The fact is that in Barisan, we have MCA and MIC. In Pakatan, there is DAP. So, we should find a common ground between Barisan and Pakatan,” he said.

Contrary to criticism from the Opposition bloc of Perikatan Nasional, Pakatan has been respectful towards the position of Islam and the Malay Rulers, he added.

“In Umno’s constitution, these are the matters that must be defended and they (Pakatan) agreed to it. So, I don’t see an issue here,” said Ahmad Zahid.

He also said that the Perikatan component party PAS had also “married” the DAP in the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

“When we did it (cooperating with Pakatan), we apparently pawned the Malays and Islam. So, they (PAS) should ask themselves because PAS has politically married several parties in the past, including the DAP,” he added.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid launched Umno’s Tabung Pendidikan Melayu to raise some RM10mil a year.

He became the fund’s first donor with RM5,000 followed by Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan with RM3,000.He also presented awards to outstanding social activists Datuk Dr Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi for contributions to the welfare sector, Datin Norlina Alawi (health) and Datin Nur Sharmila Shaheen (security).

Mohamad also opened the assembly for the party’s Women, Youth and Puteri wings at 8pm yesterday.

The wings will hold their assemblies today followed by the main assembly tomorrow.

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