AN UMNO leader has rejected Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s call for the party to reassess its position in the unity government after Barisan Nasional’s (BN) defeat in the Kemaman by-election last week.
According to an FMT report, UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said BN’s defeat does not indicate that they had to leave the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led unity government and rather, it has proven that both BN and Pakatan Harapan (PH) can work well together.
He stressed that UMNO would not follow in the footsteps of Bersatu who left the PH coalition following its defeat in the Tanjung Piai by-election in Nov 2019, just three months before Sheraton Move, which had then led to the fall of the PH government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Recall that during the Tanjung Piai by-election PH had suffered a crushing defeat, which saw BN’s Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng garnering a whopping 15,086-vote majority against PH’s Karmaine Sardini, who is from Bersatu.
Wee had won 25,466 votes to Karmaine’s 10,380 votes. The Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat was previously won by PH in the 14th general election (GE14).
“Kemaman should not be compared to Tanjung Piai. Muhyiddin had used Bersatu’s defeat at Tanjung Piai to bring down Mahathir and DAP was merely made a scapegoat for Muhyddin,” Puad was reported as saying by the news portal.
On Sunday (Dec 3) Muhyiddin who is also the Bersatu president said BN’s loss in the Kemaman by-election should serve as a warning to UMNO to reassess their cooperation with PH.
In a statement, Muhyiddin claimed that PAS candidate Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar’s victory also confirmed the declining popularity of the unity government. He said the people, particularly the Malays, did not agree to BN and PH working together.
Muhyiddin said the increase in the majority by more than 10,000 votes compared with the win by PAS in the same seat in GE15 last year clearly proved the growing support for the Islamist party and PN.
In the Kemaman by-election, Samsuri obtained a total of 64,998 votes while the BN candidate, Tan Sri Raja Affandi Raja Noor, a retired general and former defence forces chief, garnered 27,778 votes.
The Terengganu Menteri Besar’s majority in the straight fight was a whopping 37,220 votes.
Meanwhile, citing UMNO’s involvement in the Bumiputera economic congress, Puad, who is also the Rengit assemblyman, said the cooperation between UMNO and PH had indicated that both can work well together.
“This is proof of the unity government’s commitment. UMNO will only reassess its position in the unity government if there were any backstabbing elements involved,” he added. – Dec 5, 2023