MUAFAKAT Nasional (MN) should not accept Bersatu as a member because the Umno splinter party had a role in toppling the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, said veteran politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
The Gua Musang MP and Umno advisory chairman said his view of Bersatu was also shared by Umno grassroots members, who were unhappy with their political ally.
“Grassroots members are not happy with Bersatu wanting to join MN. Bersatu was the reason the BN government fell, how are we going to accept them?” Tengku Razaleigh told Insight Talk.
Bersatu was founded by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in 2016 with the goal of defeating the Najib Razak government.
However, Muhyiddin, took the party out of the coalition in late February this year, causing the PH government to collapse.
Meanwhile, MN is the political pact between Umno and PAS, formed after BN lost the federal government, and was officially sealed last year.
The presidents of both parties officially invited Bersatu to join MN last month.
After BN fell from power in 2018, several Umno MPs defected to Bersatu, a sore spot for Tengku Razaleigh.
The upshot is 15 of Bersatu’s 32 federal seats are now held by ex-Umno MPs.
Bersatu has only won seven seats of its own, because the remainder are defectors from PKR, expelled from the latter party after February’s change of government.
“They (Bersatu) took away our parliamentarians, too. These are all traitors.
“Now they are opening up their party to non-Malays. How are we going to allow this to happen?” the 83-year-old politician said about Bersatu’s plans to create a membership category for non-Malays and non-Muslims.
One of MN’s goals is to strengthen Malay-Muslim unity.
Tengku Razaleigh has previously criticised Bersatu wanting to admit non-Malays by urging Umno MPs in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to quit their cabinet posts.
“Umno grassroots members were not happy, so that is why I made those comments. I was only voicing what the ordinary members were feeling,” he said.
The longest serving MP’s dislike for Bersatu was visible during the interview when he called the party “ular lidi” (a small snake) wanting to befriend a python (Umno).
“Bersatu should have some standards. It is a small snake trying to get close to a python.
“It’s enough for Umno and PAS to co-operate.
“There has been enough quarrelling between Malay parties, and now there are too many small Malay parties.
“We want to look for a common ground between PAS and Umno.”
Umno must take back Pagoh
Tengku Razaleigh also said that Umno would contest in Pagoh and Langkawi, the two seats won by Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir.
Muhyiddin is still Bersatu president, while Dr Mahathir has formed his own party, Pejuang, comprising other lawmakers and members who were sacked from Bersatu for not supporting Muhyiddin.
“Umno will take back the seats they have lost – even in Pagoh and Langkawi – those are Umno’s seats. They belong to Umno.”
Some in political circles have goaded the prime minister into re-joining Umno, but Tengku Razaleigh remained firm in his opinion.
“Who said we are going to accept him?” he said.
He also described Muhyiddin’s PN government as “illegitimate”, adding that fresh general elections should be held immediately.
“I think it should be now. Umno supported the change of government because we did not want to prolong the crisis (in February).
“We allowed our people to join the government but we want an election.
“The current government is not a legitimate government. The mandate should be given back to the people. They will decide. Right now, the government that we have is not stable,” he said.
In the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat, Muhyiddin currently has the support of 113 MPs. His motion to replace the Speaker on July 13 won narrowly with 111 votes, highlighting the thin margin he has among MPs.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT