KUALA LUMPUR: The UMNO-led Barisan Nasional (BN) has decided to contest the 15th General Election (GE15) on its own, UMNO president and BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
He said UMNO, the biggest party of the Malays, had also decided to maintain the decision of its Supreme Council (MT) to not have any cooperation with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP and Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia).
“We are sticking to the decision of the Supreme Council (of UMNO) … no Anwar, no DAP, no Bersatu. There have been no discussions with any of the parties, either formally or informally. We will contest using the Barisan Nasional banner,” he said.
He said this in his policy speech entitled ‘Kestabilan UMNO Kesejahteraan Malaysia’ (UMNO Stability, Prosperity of Malaysia) at the UMNO General Assembly 2020 at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre (WTC KL) here, which was held in hybrid fashion with physical presence of delegates and virtually involving all its 190 divisions.
The two-day general assembly today was preceded by the general assemblies of the party’s three wings – Wanita, Youth and Puteri – yesterday. Today’s assembly was attended by about 2,600 delegates in an atmosphere of new norms to comply with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The opening of the UMNO General Assembly was also attended by MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran, United Sabah People’s Party (PBRS) deputy president Arthur Joseph Kurup, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and his deputy Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man as well as representatives of Friends of BN. PAS is UMNO’s partner in the Muafakat Nasional alliance.
In his no holds barred speech, Ahmad Zahid said UMNO needed to rise up and become dominant again by winning more seats in GE15 to enable it to return to lead the government.
Reminding all party members of the political resets that have taken place and are happening, the UMNO president said BN would have to decide which party was truly sincere and honest to form a ‘unity government’.
He said that even though there had not been negotiations with any parties, UMNO was open to creating a ‘unity government’ for the sake of the country’s political stability and harmony as wished for by the people.
“UMNO is very open to do it after GE15. However, first UMNO must continue to be relevant and dominate the country’s politics. Therefore, we need to be dominant, then only we are relevant,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid also reiterated that the support of UMNO and BN MPs for the formation of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government was “en bloc” and there was a time frame to it (the support).
Touching on the Muafakat Nasional (MN) political cooperation with PAS, Ahmad Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament, said UMNO as a political partner would continue to be honest in translating the charter and memorandum of understanding signed by the two parties in September 2019.
“Our cooperation has yet to fully bloom. But still, it’s never too late to continue what we had started with. Being with the other side doesn’t bring any gain, let alone getting more seats.” he said, alluding to PAS also joining the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional coalition as well.
He said the partnership (with PAS), which was proven in the seven by-elections after GE14, had received strong support from the people and is believed that it would open up space for BN to return to lead the country.
Currently, Ahmad Zahid said, UMNO, which was being pressured from outside and within the party, demanded that all its members be united as it was the foundation for its strength.
“We are very worried that if we celebrate differences of opinion too much, it will open up space for division among UMNO members, and even worse, may lead to factions that eventually split the party,” he stressed.
The UMNO president said the party carried the voice of the people and consistently played a check-and -balance role, especially with the people burdened and faced with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“UMNO has traditionally been a place for people to complain. UMNO is for the people to seek solace. This is the DNA of UMNO,” he said.