KUALA LUMPUR ― As his party gears up for electoral battle, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is praying for another “tsunami” at the next general elections.
In an interview with Malay broadsheet Mingguan Malaysia today, he acknowledged there were more race-based political parties formed recently that challenged Umno’s core group of supporters, but hoped they would side with the Malay nationalist party similar to the “Chinese tsunami” that favoured the Opposition at the last national polls.
“I hope that the tsunami happens, but it sides with Umno, and sides with the reality that there needs to be unity among the Malays themselves, in the name of religion, in the name of race, for national interests,” he told the weekend edition of Utusan Malaysia.
He added that Malay support for Umno does not mean that the interests and welfare of the non-Malays are sidelined.
“I view this development closely, and it does not mean we want to reject other faiths or race, but the reality of the majority must be acknowledged by all in this country,” he was quoted saying.
In Election 2013, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by Umno suffered what its leader dubbed a “Chinese tsunami”.
But there have been increasing signs of the ethnic Chinese softening its stance towards the BN since then, especially following the highly publicised internal disputes among members of the Opposition Pakatan Harapan pact.
In the interview, Ahmad Zahid also appeared to take a dig at former Umno leaders who have formed their own political parties, namely Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is the de facto chief of PKR, and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who now chairs Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
“Tengku Razaleigh too at one time formed Parti Semangat 46,” Ahmad Zahid was quoted saying.
Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who had been tipped to be a frontrunner for prime minister in the mid 1980s, left the party after losing to Dr Mahathir in the Umno elections but later returned to the fold.
“Let us just watch, because there has never been any history of an Umno splinter party apart from PAS which has a sturdy foundation,” Ahmad Zahid reportedly said.