KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — A majority of 13 Penang Umno divisions have refused to work with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) for the upcoming 15th general election, reports Berita Harian.
Penang Umno state liaison chairman Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir said the decision was made following a motion on the matter which was brought during the respective divisional delegates’ meetings today.
Musa said Umno will defend all seats traditionally contested by the party, including those whose incumbents have defected to Bersatu, by strengthening cooperation with PAS through Muafakat Nasional (MN).
“This is the long-awaited decision of Umno grassroots members in Penang where we reject political cooperation with Bersatu in GE15 and only remain in cooperation with PAS.
“It has not been discussed but the Umno consultative committee has given guidance on what we need to do which is, with PAS, we can tolerate, but with Bersatu, ‘no way’,” he said.
Musa said Umno’s political bureau and supreme council (MKT) had only cooperated with Bersatu to form a federal government following fissures within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, which eventually led to the latter’s collapse.
Currently, Bersatu in Penang has one parliamentary seat, namely Tasek Gelugor, and four state assembly seats, namely Bertam, Seberang Jaya, Teluk Bahang and Sungai Acheh.
Musa expressed hope that Umno party leaders will refrain from issuing statements that could confuse the grassroots regarding political cooperation with any party.
“Please do not confuse Umno members and the people. We have the MKT and political bureau so please use that channel.
“Do not make any statements that force us to address questions from grassroots members to which we have no answer. We want to work and even though we were out for two years when Barisan Nasional (BN) fell to PH, not a single branch was closed,” he said.
On accepting PAS as a party that also cooperates with Bersatu through Perikatan Nasional (PN), Musa said his party has no problem with PAS and cooperation with the party is strengthened when it participates in programmes organised by both parties.
“Umno is committed to working with them in an effort to recapture the state government administration from DAP,” he said.
Musa said Penang Umno is ready to face the possibility of a three-cornered contest in GE15. He conceded it will not give an advantage to MN, but added that he remains confident about the strength of support from both Umno and PAS members.
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