Umno still popular among some Malays, says Dr M

(FMT) – Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malays who still support Umno must be won over to PPBM in order to strengthen the Pakatan Harapan (PH) component party as well as the coalition as a whole.

Speaking in an interview with selected media organisations at his office here, he said Umno had continued to receive support from many Malays in the May 9 polls as the party remained popular among them.

“Those Malays must be brought out because if they support PPBM, PPBM will become strong and PH will become strong,” Bernama reported him as saying.

“So that is our position,” he said, referring to the applications from former Umno MPs and leaders to join PPBM.

“(But) we are not taking leaders like (the) two or three names that have been mentioned. Those leaders, no way they can come in.

“There are cases against them that they have to face in court. We are not accepting them.”

When asked whether other PH members had voiced concern over the matter, Mahathir said yes.

“We are concerned also,” he added. “We don’t want to give the impression that Umno is taking over PPBM or any other party in PH.

While adding that PPBM, of which he is chairman, was “very serious” about vetting such individuals, he acknowledged that they might still have influence in some areas.

“If we reject them, we may be rejecting voters. They can bring some voters. It would strengthen PPBM and PH as well.”

On the notion that accepting former Umno MPs into its fold was part of a strategy for PH to get a two-third majority in Parliament, Mahathir said he did not like the idea of a two-third majority government.

“I want a strong opposition,” he said. “But as you can see, the opposition is totally shattered and everything is broken down.

“MIC is not functioning, MCA is not functioning. In Sabah, they are not functioning. The whole of Umno is split into so many parts. Some want to remain in Umno, some want to come out, some want to give up politics.

“There is no opposition that is credible at the moment. Even when I was in the government before, when I was head of Barisan Nasional, I used to say we need an opposition because without an opposition, it’s like having no mirror to look at yourself. You think you are beautiful but actually you are very ugly.”