Unity government under Dr M? Umno sec-gen says will be hypocritical after Pakatan collapse

Soo Wern Jun
Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa speaks during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur February 25, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Umno has rejected the idea of a unity government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, its secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa asserted today.

Annuar said the idea had been proposed to his party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, but added that accepting it now would be hypocrisy in light of the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.

“The word unity government, it will become hypocrisy. We don’t want a hypocritical government to be formed.

“We need to learn from the collapse of the PH government, because they were acting hypocritically,” he told reporters at the Umno headquarters here.

Annuar was responding to a Reuters report citing anonymous sources claiming that Dr Mahathir is poised to form a new government without any dominant political party but instead with the backing of MPs across the divide.

The interim prime minister has been meeting political leaders from major parties, including the Opposition, since returning to Putra Perdana this morning and was reportedly mulling a grand coalition without party lines.

Annuar scoffed at the unity government idea, noting that Dr Mahathir had failed to rein in mavericks as chairman of the four-party PH which resulted in the coalition’s collapse.

“This is the same leader we are talking about, Dr Mahathir, who led four parties and it collapsed.

“If he were to lead 10 or more parties, it will collapse even easier,” he added.

Asked whether it was because Umno did not trust Dr Mahathir himself, or if it did not trust giving Dr Mahathir that much power if he led a unity government, Annuar refused to state his stand.

“We leave it to you to interpret,” he said.

Annuar denied claims that Umno had been engaged in negotiations with several parties to form a separate coalition.

“Actually, we didn’t have negotiations. We were informed of PH’s collapse prior to what had taken place over the weekend.

“And being a responsible Opposition, we must come to the forefront to offer what we can do stabilise the situation, that we have to sacrifice to save and assist the prime minister to save the country after his party collapse and he left the party, Bersatu. That was our sacrifice,” he said.

Annuar claimed BN and PAS, Umno’s partner in the separate Muafakat Nasional pact, were against the idea of a unity government.

Alluding to PH and its “new Malaysia” mantra, the Umno man said they were trying to protect Malaysians from being duped by leaders making promises they could not deliver.

“Only after 22 months, they have collapsed. Who suffers? The people suffer,” he said.

Annuar said BN and Muafakat Nasional have reached a consensus for fresh elections to be called as the next step.

“Return the power to the people. Let the people evaluate, let the people decide.

“The most important thing is, Malaysia needs a genuine and strong government which isn’t hypocritical and works for the people,” he said.

Annuar also claimed to have been informed prior to the fact that Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and 10 other MPs would be leaving PKR.

“We were informed that the Azmin faction was going to leave PKR. We were informed before the official announcement was made,” he said, without disclosing the source.

 

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