Umno-PAS cooperation bad for Umno’s image, says Khaled Nordin

Umno perceived as ultra-Malay and Islamic party after pact with PAS, says Khaled

(FMT) – Cooperating with PAS may have led to the fall of Pakatan Harapan and brought Umno back to power.

But this has also resulted in the growing perception that it is becoming an ultra-Malay and Islamic party, said its vice-president, Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He said this had caused much uneasiness among a section of its members and the public, adding that this was not the original struggle of the party that ensured power was shared with all races.

“Our cooperation with PAS has led to grouses and concern from the middle- and upper-class Malays that we have started using this brand of political narrative in a shallow manner.

“Some of them even claimed that we’ve played up these sentiments in order to secure short-term victories.

“I want to emphasise that populism based on race is not how Umno had won and managed the country in the past,” he said when officiating at the Pasir Gudang Umno division meeting today.

As such, he said party leaders needed to work towards bringing the party back to its original path of moderation.

Khaled admitted that politics of racial identity was part of Umno’s DNA and that this also applied to other political parties.

“But this has never been applied in an extreme manner or in a way that oppressed other races.

“It was also never used as an instrument to be cruel to other races and groups.”

He said Umno was aware that if it wanted to be in power again, there was only one formula — that is for the Malays to unite and administer Malaysia together with the non-Malays.

The former minister said in the interest of the nation, Malays must form a strategic cooperation with all races and quarters, adding that it should not be merely political cooperation but also true unity.

“This is the way forward — there is no Plan B or C, only one plan.

“Umno and other parties must share power. It is similar to the formation of Alliance (after independence) and later Barisan Nasional,” he said.

Khaled said that grassroots members need to play their part in making Umno a party that fights for moderation, adding that no one seemed to be talking of reforming Umno now, “as if we are perfect”.

On the next general election, he said Umno will not join Perikatan Nasional (PN) but will continue to contest under the Barisan Nasional ticket.

“We will continue to strengthen Muafakat Nasional (Umno’s pact with PAS) in the meantime.

“PN does not have the true strength to defend Malay rights. It was only formed on an ad-hoc basis among MPs without consulting the grassroots,” Khaled said.

He said PN would not be able to attract non-Malay support because it was seen as a pact based on Malays and nothing more.