‘We won’t work with PKR’

(The Star) – Umno will not be cooperating with PKR in the next general election and will only be working with its fellow component parties under the Barisan Nasional banner.

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party did not have any discussions with PKR on election cooperation and any potential pact would only be explored post-GE15.

This comes a week after PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said there were discussions between the parties.

“Yes, Anwar and I have bumped into each other at Parliament (and) at weddings, but no discussions at all, be it formally or informally.

“Not with me, not with Mat Hassan (Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan), ” said Ahmad Zahid in an interview ahead of the Umno general assembly which will be held on March 27-28.

Asked if any Umno leader had met Anwar on this, he said: “You should ask him who he had discussions with but Umno has not authorised any representative to hold such talks.”Umno has been part of the Barisan coalition since it was formed in 1973 and has since contested under its banner in every election.

On Feb 19, Umno made it known that the party would not cooperate with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in the next election and that the current cooperation would end when Parliament was dissolved.

On whether Umno is willing to explore cooperating with PKR, Ahmad Zahid said that post GE15, anything was possible.

“But for now, there is no discussion, not with PKR, not with DAP, not with Pakatan Harapan, ” he reiterated.

Barisan is currently made up of four parties – Umno, MCA, MIC and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS).

On March 17, Anwar said “initial discussions” between PKR and Umno leaders had taken place but did not strike any agreement or formal understanding.

“I have already said it would be premature to indicate any possibility of cooperation or agreement. At this stage, we are discussing, ” Anwar was quoted as saying.

As for Umno’s cooperation with PAS, Ahmad Zahid said both parties were still working together in the spirit of Muafakat Nasional.

“But it is up to them. If they feel that they are more comfortable working with other parties, they can proceed to do so, ” he said.

PAS and Umno formed Muafakat Nasional coalition in 2019, but it is also a member of the Perikatan Nasional coalition with Bersatu and three other parties.