The ‘elephant in the room’ at Umno general assembly

Youth leader Wan Agyl Wan Hassan says the question of working with DAP will be a major point of debate.

(FMT) – An Umno Youth leader said the party’s alliance with Pakatan Harapan, especially once-bitter rivals DAP, will be the “elephant in the room” at the Umno general meeting beginning today.

Wan Agyl Wan Hassan said the problem would be getting the grassroots to comprehend the political dynamics as both Umno and DAP are part of the unity government.

The Umno Youth permanent chairman said there was a need for Umno to understand how it was going to position itself with PH.

Saying DAP and Umno once needed to be each other’s rival to remain relevant in politics, he added: “Now that we are working together, we need to fine-tune (the relationship) in terms of how we can work together and resolve arguments we had before.”

He went on to cite the wing’s reluctance to invite its counterparts from PH to the general assembly as an example of an issue that needed to be settled “once and for all”.

“Such issues are what the leadership needs to make the grassroots understand.”

Wan Agyl said Malays were sensitive to certain things, and randomly calling on the grassroots to back a traditional rival would be “unacceptable”.

Another issue that would be raised was the direction of the government, particularly rebuilding the country after years of political instability, he said, adding that Umno Youth would be critical of policies that touched on the economy, education and health.

Wan Agyl said with the state elections just around the corner, seat allocations would also be discussed.

Meanwhile, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara believes the Umno leadership should choose the narrative wisely at the general assembly, if they intended to coax its grassroots to vote for DAP candidates in the coming elections.

DAP is still a “taboo” subject for many in Umno, he said.

“It is no use saying ‘DAP is good’, ‘DAP is a friend of Umno’ in order to persuade members because the enmity between the two is too deep for that kind of narrative,” he said.

Azmi believes that Umno should allow members to speak out against DAP a little to cushion the impact.

“The narrative has to be one that Umno is willing to stand up to DAP even though it is part of the government,” he added.