Umno must work with “enemies” to win two-thirds majority in GE15

(FMT) – Forming a coalition government with other political groupings could allow Barisan Nasional to gain supermajority control after the 15th general election, Umno’s Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said suggested today.

Speaking at the convention for the coalition’s 48th anniversary, the former deputy Speaker said the political reality at the moment required BN to be flexible about alliances either before or after the general election.

“Although we regard them as the enemy or we don’t see them as friends, we have to consider the option (of entering a coalition) if we want a 148-seat win,” said Azalina.

The number she cited would represent a two-thirds majority in the 220-seat Parliament, which would let any ruling coalition legislate unfettered even in matters relating to the Federal Constitution.

BN is currently part of a coalition government with Perikatan Nasional, an allied coalition in name but a political rival in reality.

Since triumphing in the state elections of Sabah, Melaka, and Johor, a growing section in BN, chiefly from Azalina’s Umno, believes the coalition could regain power in the next general election on its own.

Today, Azalina appeared to disabuse the coalition of this view, saying that a refusal to compromise and form political alliances might prevent it from leading an effective government or being able to pass legislation.

“If we want to win, we need to be ready to negotiate with parties that share a common ground,” Azalina said, but stressed that the terms of any partnership must be agreed upfront.

The next general election is not due until September 2023 but parts of Umno are pushing for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call one soon.

However, Ismail Sabri has expressed reluctance to do so, indicating that economic conditions were not conducive to a BN victory at the moment.