MP: “UMNO unfairly blamed for everything just because PM is from the party”

UMNO is being fairly blamed for various issues plaguing the country just because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob hails from the party, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said. 

This is despite the prime minister and UMNO not having sole authority on governmental decision-making processes due to the Cabinet’s multi-party composition, the Pengerang MP was reported as saying by The Vibes. 

As the current government comprises members of other coalitions, the outspoken lawmaker noted that proposals from UMNO are at the mercy of other component parties before they get approved. 

“Suddenly, questions raised are also now answerable by other political parties because they are part of the coalition government. So, you really can’t blame my party for being responsible for everything,” she remarked during a podcast session with The Vibes recently. 

“When things go wrong, people say the government is led by UMNO leaders. But when an implementation becomes stuck, nobody wants to point out that the ministers who are causing the problems don’t belong to UMNO. We get blamed because the prime minister belongs to my party.”  

In addition to Barisan Nasional (BN) other major coalitions in the Government today are Perikatan Nasional (PN) which comprises 40 MPs from Bersatu and PAS, as well as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) which represents 19 of the parliamentary seats.  

Azalina went on to note that being in a coalition government has not made things easier for Ismail Sabri as he has to “constantly placate other parties”. 

“To be fair to him, he’s wearing two hats. In UMNO, he’s vice-president, which is third in rank. In the Government, he is number one, but our party only represents 34% of the Government,” she elaborated. 

“So, he has to keep negotiating. And I think it is a very difficult position to be in. Not just him, but for anyone in his shoes.” 

Difficulty in implementing policies 

Meanwhile, Azalina also pointed out that the difficulty in implementing various policies is further exacerbated by the fact that many of the top UMNO leaders are not currently party of the federal administration – an element that would have been key to ensure continuity. 

“My late father used to tell me that the most important body is UMNO’s Supreme Council, not even the Cabinet. The council calls the shots, the Cabinet interprets them. Now, members of the Supreme Council are not in the Cabinet,” she explained. 

“But for Bersatu, PAS, and other parties, their top honchos are all in the Cabinet. So, whatever is discussed, they can bring those back to the party to garner support. Not for UMNO, because of all the challenges we are facing today. 

“Because of that, there will be problems at the party level with interpreting whatever was decided in the cabinet. When the heartbeat of the party doesn’t participate in or run the government, things will start to collapse.” – Sept 29, 2022 

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