KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Umno veteran and former Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad has said he sees no point in Umno ministers and deputy ministers remaining in their posts as the party has not benefited from Cabinet representation.
Utusan Online reported Shahrir as saying that Umno Cabinet ministers have stayed silent as the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government furthers the agenda introduced by its Pakatan Harapan (PH) predecessor.
“We feel there is no benefit to being part of a government led by Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia). It still embraces the PH agenda.
“Take, for example, the issue of Tabung Haji. The recovery of Tabung Haji mirrors what PH did. There have been no amendments, changes or improvements. The late Adib’s issue? Surely, they haven’t forgotten all that now they are in government?
“This means we are inconsistent, engaging in rhetoric like we are the Opposition. We forgot these issues when we became the government. From the by-elections of Cameron Highlands to Tanjung Piai, we listened to everything, from minor grievances to the issue of Tabung Haji. All that has now fallen by the wayside. What kind of politics is this?
“I agree with what Tun Musa Hitam said. It seems like ‘main masak-masak’ (play pretend). There is no shared philosophy, when you set up a government with all sorts of ingredients. It all comes to naught. People who wanted to set up this government should have had a philosophy. That is why the world sees today’s government as no different from PH that was toppled,” he was reported as saying by Utusan Online today.
Shahrir added that the public does not actually care whether Umno holds office, but the fact is the party can use such positions to bring about positive change to their lives.
“Not all Umno people are like that, not everyone feels that getting a position is the goal. Umno has remained strong for 22 months, without government positions, without asking for projects, contracts, nothing is the same as before. It means that Umno, which has existed for 22 months without being in government, can survive as a party.
“People really don’t care if we are ministers. Umno’s platform of struggle has been reset, Umno is not relying on positions in government. This time, we truly are championing the struggle,” he said.
Shahrir went on to say that Barisan Nasional (BN) has what it takes to win the 15th general election (GE15) but must offer something new to the public.
“What form will this new offer to the people take? And we also want to demonstrate that as a party, we can still perform in circumstances where we are not the government.
“Even the wave of five states that culminated in the heads of state governments, that wave will lead to victory from the branch level right up to Parliament,” he said.
The initial call for Umno leaders to resign from their government positions was made by party veteran Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who urged ministers, deputy ministers and GLC heads to step down from their posts immediately.
Tengku Razaleigh made the call after party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Umno was against cooperating with Bersatu, Anwar Ibrahim or DAP, and that the party would contest under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner at the next general election.
On March 31, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Bersatu president, announced that all Umno ministers would remain in the Cabinet after advising them to do so in the interests of the people and country.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican came out in defence of the status quo, claiming that stepping down from Cabinet would tarnish Umno’s name and image.
Other Umno ministers have also publicly stated that they have no plans to vacate their posts.
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