Interview with Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Tuesday, March 23, 2021. — RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

Melaka Polls: Umno to decide on collaboration with PAS on Thursday (Oct 28), says Asyraf

PETALING JAYA: Umno will decide whether it will collaborate with PAS in the upcoming Melaka polls after its supreme council meeting on Thursday (Oct 28), says the party Youth chief.

Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said that the two parties had raised the matter of ensuring collaboration under Muafakat Nasional at a recent discussion.

“Of course our members are really expecting Umno and PAS to campaign together, but it’s all up to PAS because in our recent discussion with them, the most important thing is how to ensure that Muafakat Nasional will remain as a collaboration,” said Asyraf.

“We have not decided yet. The supreme council will have its meeting on Thursday, so we just wait for their decision,” he added at a press conference at the Umno headquarters on Tuesday (Oct 26).

This comes after Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS and Gerakan will contest in the Melaka elections under the coalition’s ticket.

Prior to this, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently said that there was a possibility of Umno contesting alone in Melaka without PAS and Perikatan.

On the possibility of Umno going it alone campaigning in Melaka, Asyraf said that the party has had no problems doing so for over 60 years, with support from Barisan Nasional component parties.

“In that regard we don’t have much problem in going around visiting voters at the grassroots level,” he said.

Asyraf added that Umno will be ramping up digital campaigning for the Melaka elections in November and work within the framework of the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP).

Despite the Health Ministry’s ban on political gatherings in Melaka over Covid-19 concerns, Asyraf said this could be a “blessing in disguise” as the party would have to recalibrate its strategies and maximise digital platforms.

“A new strategy that we will introduce is beefing up on our digital campaigning and I see it as a blessing in disguise as we are facing a pandemic and with it, new challenges,” said Asyraf

“We have to look at the Melaka elections as a platform for us to diversify our campaigning mechanisms by using a variety of media such as TikTok, Instagram and even WhatsApp or Telegram,” he said, adding that a team has been formed to advance digital campaigning efforts.

Asked if Umno Youth would attempt to negotiate with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to relax the SOP for the Melaka elections, Asyraf said that although some SOPs could be tweaked to enable physical campaigning to be done safely, the party will focus on working within the ministry’s set framework.

He added that Umno would use the remaining time before campaigning starts to work within the new guidelines.

Nomination day for the Melaka elections will be on Nov 8 followed by a 12-day campaign period and polling day on Nov 20.