PETALING JAYA: The first step to the formation of a more stable government after the next general election starts with Umno reforming itself, according to a political analyst.
Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Pawi said a reformed Umno led by leaders with integrity would make Pakatan Harapan more willing to work with the party post-GE15.
Awang Azman added that an Umno-DAP government would be good for the nation as it would reflect the reality of Malaysia’s multiracial society, with no race left out in the formation of the government.
“Hence, the government will be much more stable and strong,” he told FMT.
Commenting on Umno elections director Tajuddin Abdul Rahman saying his party could work with DAP if it adopted a “more moderate” approach, Azman said Umno should be the one to reform itself first.
“Reforming the party is the joint responsibility of all Umno members, from normal members to the top leadership. Starting off the process of reform in Umno isn’t just dependent on certain leaders,” he said.
He added that there were no lasting friends or enemies in politics, but what mattered in political cooperation was that both sides should have a “common interest”.
“As long as they have the common interest of being in power and forming the government, then PH would be willing to work with a reformed Umno, especially after GE15.”
Political scientist Wong Chin Huat said an Umno-DAP tie-up must be based on reforms as any cooperation without a common issue to bridge both parties would invite backlash from their grassroots.
He told FMT that the two parties could test the waters by jointly championing a reform-related issue, such as the reopening of Parliament.
“The change of government in Perak last December with a confidence and supply agreement is a successful example,” he said, referring to how Umno took over the state’s menteri besar post from PPBM with the help of PH assemblymen.
He said leaders who wanted to be the face of Umno’s campaign for reforms should be free of court cases while possessing the vision and will to bring the party from “narrow nationalism” to pragmatic policy-making.
The best leaders to forge the path include Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said, information chief Shahril Hamdan and Johor menteri besar Hasni Mohamad, he said.
Wong said an Umno-DAP alliance would almost guarantee short-term stability in the government due to the absence of clashes for seats, with both parties vying for different voter bases.
But he said the key issue determining long-term benefits to the nation would depend on whether they kept politics open and competitive.
In a webinar yesterday, several Umno leaders said the current political crisis was an opportunity for their party to revamp its image and lead the fight for political reforms.
Umno supreme council member Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the current political chaos was a “tipping point” for the party to include some serious political reforms in its manifesto for GE15.
Wong, who was also a part of the forum, had said it was a “good sign” that mainstream Umno leaders were now talking about political reforms, when it used to only come from splinter parties like Semangat 46, PKR and PPBM. – FREE MALAYSIA TODAY
Umno needs to nominate candidate for PM, says Tun Faisal
He said having “no baggage” meant a nominee free from court cases or scandals.
Tun Faisal, who was recently suspended from Umno for six years, accused of defaming party president Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said the Barisan Nasional lynchpin party has never been short of leaders.
“There is Khairy Jamaluddin too, although he’s a bit young,” said Tun Faisal, who is also the press secretary for Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa, who in turn is seen within Umno as being pro-Bersatu and PN.
Tun Faisal – who was once director of the propaganda, the Special Affairs Department – agreed with others like Khairy that Umno should also have fresh party polls to decide.
“If we are to go into elections, we need to bring a new face into the picture. As such, there should be new party elections.
“Old faces, especially those who are liabilities, should be gentlemen and make way for new people.”
Zahid has come under attack since the party’s general assembly two weekends ago.
Some of his critics, who favour sticking with PN, say that he had orchestrated the assembly to break off ties with Bersatu.
More than that, at the assembly Umno gave PAS an ultimatum to choose between it and rival Bersatu. The gamble failed as PAS ended up siding with Bersatu.
Zahid faces challenges on a number of fronts, including taking issue with his 87 corruption charges, calls for fresh elections and breaking up “Muslim” unity by ending ties with Bersatu and PAS.
The pro-PN faction in Umno also believes that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should retain his job come GE15.
Tun Faisal said there are steps Umno must take ahead of the next elections, after the general assembly voted to stop all political co-operation with Bersatu in GE15.
He said despite this decision, Umno has not presented any clear path to winning GE15 without PAS or Bersatu.
“Umno needs to find a way to win more seats if it wants to contest the next elections without Perikatan Nasional.
“What’s next, after it was decided at the Umno general assembly that there would be no Anwar (Ibrahim), no DAP and no Bersatu?
“Can Umno win more seats without sacrificing its principles?”
He said the best way for Umno to win is to be part of PN.
“That’s why we reject efforts for ‘new’ politics, which means working with PKR and DAP.” – THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
FREE MALAYSIA TODAY / THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT