KUALA LUMPUR: United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party will not work with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Democratic Action Party or Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in the next general election.
"There are no discussions with any of these parties, officially or unofficially. We will contest under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banners,” he said in his speech at the two-day UMNO annual general assembly on Sunday (Mar 28).
Even if there were negotiations, Ahmad Zahid said, this would only happen when UMNO becomes dominant again after the general election.
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UMNO, which is Malaysia's biggest political party, used to hold the prime minister position and lead the federal government until the fall of BN (a coalition of which UMNO is the backbone member) in the last general election in 2018.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over federal power but was toppled and replaced by Perikatan Nasional (PN) headed by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin last year.
UMNO is currently part of the PN government, but had said that it would only work with PN until the 15th general election (GE15) is called.
Mr Muhyiddin, whose legitimacy has been questioned, had promised to dissolve the parliament when the pandemic is under control.
On Sunday, Ahmad Zahid stressed that UMNO must win as many seats as possible in the next general election to regain its dominance.
He added that based on current political realities, BN had decided to face the elections alone.
“Let me be clear once and for all, for UMNO to be dominant after GE15, one, we must win the most seats.
“Two, BN has to determine which parties are truly earnest and honest about forming a government with us,” Ahmad Zahid told the delegates.
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POLITICAL RESETS AND UNITY GOVERNMENT
Ahmad Zahid, who is a former deputy prime minister and is currently facing corruption charges, said UMNO is open to forming a unity government after the elections.
He pointed out that changes in the state governments in Johor, Melaka, Perak and Sabah were proof of an “ongoing political reset”. The chief minister's posts in Johor, Melaka and Perak went back to UMNO while the party is part of the state leadership in Sabah following a state election.
"Is it something impossible for UMNO and its political partners to build a political reset which will paint a new political landscape in this country?" Ahmad Zahid asked the delegates.
He said even without negotiations with any parties as of now, he could feel the people's aspirations for a "unity government" to stabilise Malaysian politics.
READ: Shifting political alliances on the cards after UMNO-Bersatu split, say analysts
"UMNO is very open to carrying this out after GE15. But first, UMNO must continue to be relevant and dominate Malaysian politics."
"We need to dominate, then only we are relevant," he said.
Ahmad Zahid also revealed in his speech that there were attempts to buy UMNO's honour and the party was also pressured to dissolve.
"But I rejected all offers. UMNO will not change masters. UMNO's masters are its party members and the people," he said.