KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Annuar Musa has accused his party’s senior leadership of “manipulating” its own grassroots, by claiming that the party is being bullied by its now ally Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia’s Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia, the Ketereh MP also reportedly said some senior party leaders have not provided the full story on the party’s attempt to cooperate with political enemy DAP.
“The problem is now manipulation is largely being done by the leaders at the top. But the full information did not reach the grassroots, and we then used the grassroots to support our ways and our ideas.
“However, we did not fully explain to Umno’s grassroots. The grassroots were not told on attempts to work with DAP. There are matters that we have discussed with Bersatu that were not extended [to the grassroots].
“What was told however is that something is wrong with Bersatu, evil and we poisoned the minds of the grassroots in that manner. So when the grassroots make the decision, it was done in a condition where they had received the wrong information,” he reportedly said.
Annuar, however, said that Umno has also taken part in bullying their allies, citing the recent Perak political crisis where Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu from Bersatu was replaced by Datuk Saarani Mohamad from Umno after the former lost a vote of confidence in the state assembly.
“At the same time, we have done our fair share of bullying too. For example, when we were in the Opposition, Bersatu were the government, then they remained to be the government, when we joined them... look at what happened.
“We look at Johor, who was the mentri besar? Bersatu right? When we enter who is the mentri besar now? Umno. In Melaka who was the mentri besar? And now who is the mentri besar? And in Perak who was the mentri besar? Now who [is the mentri besar]?” he asked.
Annuar’s comments came amid months of a public spat between Umno and Bersatu, with the former always accusing the latter of bullying and double standards.
There have been vocal voices within Umno to pull their support from the PN administration entirely and force an early general election on the grounds that the government is weak and unstable due to its slim majority support.
This, however, is also another perception for which the party is largely responsible, said Annuar, who was recently replaced as Barisan Nasional secretary-general.
“This came from a faction within Umno but are not part of the government. Secondly, it has got to do with matters of prosecution in the courts and in this matter I think the pressure on us is because these are seen as selective prosecution when our accounts are frozen, actions taken against our financial donors and cases taking too long to be completed.
“But if you look at it from another perspective, the government has changed hands, so can the government intervene?” asked Annuar, referring to many of the criminal charges brought against the party and its senior leaders, which were started during the Pakatan Harapan administration.
“The matter is now left to the courts. Any [government] involvement within the process of the law has large and negative ramifications. So to me, let the court process proceed,” he said, stating further that those who are innocent have nothing to fear from the process.
Annuar added that he did not hear the argument that the government is weak from PAS or any of PN other component parties and allies.
Umno leaders have also posited that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent move to announce a state of Emergency was only to save his political career as he has only the support of 110 MPs now in the Dewan Rakyat following two Umno lawmakers pulling their support for him in the past few weeks.
Despite the political manoeuvring, Annuar, however, stated that it was not too late for Umno leaders to steer the party in the right direction.
“Even during the Emergency, we are playing with numbers again? The numbers are no longer relevant now.
“Even if two or three or all pulled out, the government will still continue. So we have hit a wall because we have acted insincerely. Let us return on the right path. It is not too late, we are still in the government.
“I hope [Umno] leaders are considerate, honest and sincere. Do not lead Umno to destruction,” he said, stating further the need to unite the Malays in order to save the party.
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