KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Seasoned politician Tan Sri Isa Abd Samad is optimistic that given time, Umno’s grassroots can eventually work with its long-time former nemesis DAP for the sake of the country’s political stability and future.
The former Umno vice-president who was accepted back last week after quitting in October 2018 spoke to Utusan Malaysia about his return and his party’s current cooperation with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition — which includes the DAP — as part of the “unity government” led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from PKR as prime minister.
“We [in Umno] used to say all kinds of things about DAP, and I am also guilty of it.
“However, the cooperation [with DAP] is there because Umno attaches the importance in having a stable government, as well as upholding the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s order,” Isa was quoted as saying in an interview published today.
The former long-serving Negeri Sembilan menteri besar told the Malay daily that it wasn’t just Umno that had to grapple with its deep-seated feelings towards an old political foe but the DAP too that has to make the effort to look beyond their past enmity for inter-party cooperation to work.
“When we and the enemy both want to make peace, we should look ahead and not remember about our past conflicts.
“DAP also has to deal with its members anger towards Umno and similarly we are not the only ones.
“Such a matter takes time. It's normal that when you want to seek redress, there will be people who get a little offended,” he was quoted as saying.
Isa, a former federal territories minister, explained that he was not worried about disagreements concerning Umno grassroots, but rather those in the top leadership.
He stressed that those in the party’s top leadership need to have an understanding as they can reprimand any friction at the grassroots.
On the upcoming Negeri Sembilan election, Isa said he is currently assisting Umno state liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias in providing clarification to party members on its relationship with DAP.
He said part of the task involves Umno and the unity government securing a win at the state election.
“The task also involves providing an understanding to the Malay community, especially Umno members,” he told Utusan Malaysia.
At present, Isa said Negeri Sembilan Umno has started explaining to party members its participation in the unity government.
“They will go to each of the state legislative assembly areas to explain,” he told the newspaper, adding that he was also powerless to act if voters can’t accept the reasoning.
Overall, Isa said he was hopeful that the combination of PH and Barisan Nasional (BN) will be able to establish a state government in Negeri Sembilan?
“Insya Allah , we are confident of establishing a state government based on the estimates.
“From my personal point of view, we can secure a minimum of 19 or more out of the 36 state seats,” he was quoted as saying.
Negeri Sembilan is one of six states that must hold elections this year as the five-year mandate expires.
The other six are Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu.