KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Umno strongman Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today said that discontinuing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the current administration and Pakatan Harapan (PH) would go against the interest of the people.
Referring to Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan — who said the party must not hesitate to end the MoU with PH on July 31 — Nazri said that the interest and pride of Malaysians must be put first, adding that Parliament also still has one more year to run.
Explaining further why the MoU with the Opposition should not be discontinued, the former Umno supreme council member said that threats from within the coalition are constant, and ensuring that the government has the numbers is the number one priority.
"It is important for us to assure that if any of the coalition members withdraw, then this government will still be there to be supported by the majority of the MPs to continue.
"That's why we cannot just displace the MoU like that, because we still have one more year and the interest of the rakyat, the pride of the rakyat.
"They are of the utmost importance to us, instead of thinking the PM is now free to call for elections anytime, this is irresponsible on the part of the Information chief to talk that way," he told Malay Mail.
Yesterday, Shahril lambasted critics within the party who said Umno was being influenced by enemies within to not continue the deal, saying the decision was already made by its Supreme Council and it would benefit the party as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will now be free to decide on the general election's date.
He also called out Nazri, who labelled Umno as "its own biggest enemy” at a forum by Singapore’s Yusof Ishak Institute recently.
The Padang Rengas MP had said there were objections to the extension of the MoU, stemming not from the Opposition but from within Umno itself.
To which Shahril asked Nazri who is the "we", asking him to point out the supposed members of Umno who are being seen as the "enemy".
To this, Nazri told Malay Mail that it was only a figure of speech, and for Shahril to ask him who these "enemies" were was ridiculous.
"When I said Umno is its own biggest enemy, it's a figure of speech. Sometimes we say we are our worst enemy. So for the information chief to ask me who, it's ridiculous for me to say this guy or that guy.
"It was a figure of speech. I think it's a bit shallow in his thinking to ask me to pinpoint who I'm referring to," he said.
Nazri also called out Shahril's contradictory statement, where he stressed that while Umno can continue some parts of the deal such as its commitment to reform the Parliament and table the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, there should be no hesitancy to end the MoU on July 31.
According to Nazri, it is his understanding that should the MoU be discontinued, everything that comes with it should also be discontinued.
He said that if Shahril supports the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, it means that it would require cooperation from the Opposition, which is a substantive part of the MoU.
"For me, I feel that they will continue with the MoU because we are here to support the anti-hopping law, which the Opposition supports, so the understanding must continue.
"So which one is it? To discontinue or to continue, I don't know because the anti-hopping law is substantive content of the MoU.
"I think the information chief should be sure that when he speaks, he is sending a clear message, not something which after reading, you're confused," he said.
The Umno’s general meeting in 2021 has decided on several issues such as discontinuing the MoU with the opposition after July 31, supporting the tabling and passing of the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, and agreeing on selecting Ismail Sabri as the next general election prime minister candidate.
The country is not due for a general election until September 2023.