Tok Mat wants to be PM, says Nazri Aziz on calls for early polls

(Malaysia Now) – Umno veteran Mohamed Nazri Aziz today said that deputy president Mohamad Hasan had called for the 15th general election (GE15) to be held this year as he wished to contest a parliamentary seat and go on to become the prime minister.

The Padang Rengas MP said the move could be expected as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi could not be named as prime ministerial candidate given his court cases.

“If we do things like that,” he said, referring to the dissolution of Parliament, “we will be seen as putting the party over the people.

“It is clear that right now, he (Mohamad) is only thinking of himself. He wants to contest for Parliament and if he wins, he wants to be prime minister – that is where his interests lie.”

Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, last night urged for GE15 to be held this year, saying the time was right as Umno’s political enemies were at their weakest point.

In his speech to officiate the Youth, Wanita and Puteri Umno assemblies in Kuala Lumpur, he said Umno could not depend on the memorandum of understanding with the opposition in order to remain in power.

But Nazri said this argument had no merit.

He said the opposition bloc was capable of learning from its weaknesses throughout the recent string of state elections.

“They already know that divided, they will lose. So after this, they will sit down and talk, and allocate seats properly as they did for GE14.

“If we meet them one-on-one, Barisan Nasional will lose,” he said.

He was referring to the elections in Sabah, Melaka, Sarawak and Johor which saw poor performances by Pakatan Harapan (PH) at all four.

Nazri also described Mohamad’s call for the dissolution of Parliament as juvenile, saying it could be seen as ignoring the authority of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

“Tok Mat doesn’t understand the constitution,” he said. “The power to dissolve Parliament lies with the Agong. Even if he is so advised by the prime minister, if he feels that there are still outstanding issues, he will not agree.”

Adding that talks should be held with the palace, he said no prime minister had ever revealed if Parliament would be dissolved.

“Everyone could only speculate,” he said. “Dr Mahathir Mohamad never announced when Parliament would be dissolved. He understands the constitution – it cannot be announced if no discussions have been held with the palace.

The 2021 Umno general assembly began yesterday and will continue until March 19, with the attendance of over 5,000 delegates.

Some of the issues expected to take centre stage include the dissolution of Parliament, Umno’s cooperation with PAS, and the leadership crisis in Johor.

Nazri urged the representatives from Umno to prioritise the correction of the country’s biggest Malay party.

“They need to ask for party elections to be held,” he said. “The current Umno leadership is only a caretaker.

“If Tok Mat says an election will cause divisions in Umno, he is the one who is actually splitting the party.”

MalaysiaNow previously reported that Zahid would use the general assembly to pressure Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob into dissolving Parliament, to pave the way for GE15.

Holding GE15 before the Umno elections is likely to benefit Zahid, who is facing 47 charges of corruption and abuse of power related to charity outfit Yayasan Akal Budi during his time as deputy prime minister under the administration of Najib Razak.