If anyone ever wondered why Umno could work together with PAS but not Bersatu, the answer may lie in Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad's speech today.
According to Saarani (photo, above), there is a difference between Umno and PAS where compromises could still be made, unlike Bersatu that was seen as a traitor to the party.
Issuing a reminder that no party should question Umno's loyalty to Muafakat Nasional, the Perak Umno chief said the party never stole any PAS members, and vice-versa.
When Umno contested in an election, he said, PAS' machinery was on the ground to assist, and the party never fielded an Independent candidate against Umno.
"In short, Umno and PAS, the two parties are mutually reinforcing, not debilitating. This relationship is not shadowed with doubt because the cooperation is based on honesty and sincerity," he said during the debate on Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's speech at the Umno general assembly.
On the other hand, Saarani, who is also Perak menteri besar, said the same could not be said for Bersatu.
For instance, he claimed there were senior Bersatu leaders who returned to their area and stole Umno members to set up new Bersatu divisions.
"My question - are there no other Malays who can be recruited as Bersatu members? Why the need to find and steal Umno members?" he asked.
Therefore, Saarani said Perak Umno has decided to field candidates in three parliament seats - Larut, Bagan Serai and Bukit Gantang - held by Bersatu through defecting Umno MPs.
However, he said Umno is not so set in its ways to reject any form of cooperation outright.
"Umno can cooperate but will never remain silent or back away in defending the image of its struggle," said the Kota Tampan assemblyperson.
Reporting by Kow Gah Chie, Haspaizi Zain, Ng Xiang Yi, Ramieza Wahid and Low Choon Chyuan