Najib defends call to work with Anwar, notes Umno now partners with ex-foes PAS and Bersatu

(MMO) – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today defended his proposal for ruling party Umno to partner with PKR president and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, pointing out that Umno is now in federal power because of its readiness to work with former rivals PAS and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

In his first Facebook post both for today and since the Umno supreme council meeting last night, Najib said having Umno work with Anwar but without DAP until the 15th general election was one of the three proposals that he had brought to the meeting.

Najib stressed that these were merely proposals that he raised for discussion in the meeting and not final decisions, before pointing out that those who had officially worked with Anwar in the past included a range of politicians and political parties, namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin, PAS and Umno itself.

The two other proposals that Najib said he had raised was to obtain an agreement for the general election to be held at a fixed date in the future after the Covid-19 situation comes under control in order to restore political stability, as well as the suggestion for Umno to continue working with Perikatan Nasional (PN) with the condition that Umno is given a bigger role in government to decide the country’s economic direction.

Najib sought to defend his idea for Umno to work with Anwar against various allegations such as his alleged intention to be freed from his criminal cases in court or accusations of him being power crazy.

“There are those who accuse me of loving Anwar or being Anwar’s BFF. There are even those who showed past photos of me visiting Anwar in hospital. I visit many political leaders when they are sick even though not being of the same direction in politics,” he said.

Najib also went on to say that he previously said he did not want any positions and that he wanted his trials to continue in order to clear his name through the court when Umno agreed to form the PN coalition which became the government.

Najib claimed that his three proposals were based on the party’s interests and for the country’s benefit, before going on to say that he intended to show that Umno still has other alternatives to PN.

“My view that we have to be open to discuss with other parties is also as a political stance to PN that Umno still has other choices. It has to be remembered that Umno is a political party.

“If Umno was not open in the past, there would not exist Muafakat Nasional (MN) with PAS and the PN government with PPBM (Bersatu) that was still our enemy as late as February 2020,” he said.

While accepting the Umno supreme council’s decision yesterday to continue working with the PN government with the cooperation to be centred on respect and political consensus, Najib went on to warn of the risks if a fairer cooperation with Umno within PN is not achieved.

Najib warned that Umno faced the risk of continued anger from party grassroots on the imbalance in partnership within PN which he said peaked in the Sabah state election, and Umno being blamed for the missteps or controversial moves by the PN federal government despite not having the key leadership posts or purportedly not being consulted.

Najib warned that Umno would also be similarly implicated if the economy worsens and plans to save the country does not work despite Umno and what he said were other parties allegedly not being given the key related roles in government, pointedly saying: “We are not the PM, most senior Senior Minister, finance minister, economy minister or Economic Action Council.”

Among other things, Najib warned that Umno would also be criticised when controversial moves such as the alleged sudden application for declaration of emergency was made purportedly “without Umno’s agreement and knowledge”, further warning that an unbalanced partnership would mean Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) being also blamed for the perception of double standards in treatment between PN government leaders and the public that “did not involve BN leaders at all”.

“As a party member, I’m worried that the temporary power that is being shared and the temporary positions that is enjoyed by Umno/BN in the PN government will cause a worse defeat in GE15, despite the trend before us forming the PN government is that Muafakat Nasional will win big in GE15. We have even proven it through BN’s consecutive wins in by-elections before this,” he concluded, appearing to hint that Umno could have fared better as part of the BN coalition or along with ally PAS in MN.

The PN government is led by Bersatu president Muhyiddin, with the federal administration also comprising leaders from Umno, PAS and other parties.