Reports by MAZWIN NIK ANIS, MARTIN CARVALHO and TARRENCE TAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Describing Umno’s presence in the administration as a “political experiment”, its performance in the government will determine whether or not the party can be trusted in the future, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
The Umno deputy president, who is often referred to as Tok Mat, said there would be implications if the opportunity was not used to prove the party’s worth or if it became a problem for the government.
“The government’s success is important for Umno. We must use this unique opportunity to differentiate ourselves from other political parties.
“Let me state here that Umno intends to ensure the success of this government,” he said when opening the meeting of Umno’s three wings – Wanita, Youth and Puteri.
Barisan Nasional, in which Umno is a coalition member, and Pakatan Harapan had put aside decades of hostility to join hands in the wake of last year’s general election, where no single party won enough support to form the government on its own.
Seven months into the unity government, there are still questions as to whether Barisan – Umno in particular – can work alongside Pakatan, especially its long-time foe, DAP.
Mohamad said it would be detrimental for the party if it failed to perform in this government.
“No one will trust us. Not only will we disappoint the King who entrusted us, but the people will be sick of our political drama.
“In fact, voters will punish us. They will reject us in such a way that we will not be able to rise again. It leaves us no choice but to work hard and do well in this government,” he said.
Mohamad said being part of the administration has opened new possibilities for Umno.
“These are potentials that we have never thought of or imagined. We are exploring political cooperation that is not just unique and unprecedented but also extraordinary.
“Call it whatever you want – a new alignment, a new coalition, or a new understanding. What is clear is that we are taking the path of ‘business unusual’,” he added.
Mohamad said despite different views and opposite perspectives, it does not deter parties in the government from wanting to cooperate with each other.
“What is certain is that Umno will manage these differences based on the importance of unity and understanding,” he said.
Mohamad said the confused narrative about Umno and its position in the government must stop.
“We must work hard as if the government belongs to Umno and is led fully by Umno,” he said.
Describing the decline in Umno’s influence among the Malays and Malaysians in general as critical, Mohamad said all in the party might have indirectly contributed to this.
“Let us stop playing the blame game. Umno will not rise if we continue to be trapped in this.
“The fate and future of the party are our affairs. No one can change our fate except us.
“This is the time for us to restart efforts to reign in support and not just criticise so much that there is no respect for the institution and for the leadership,” he said.