We reject a Zahid-led Umno, says Bersatu leader

Rafiq Abdullah says Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi must step down for any reconciliation to happen.

(FMT) – A Bersatu leader says his party will likely spurn any call for its members to reunite under Umno for the sake of the Malay electorate.

Rafiq Abdullah said such appeals would fall on deaf ears as long as Ahmad Zahid Hamidi remained as Umno president. He added that Malays would only get behind Umno if the party changes for the better.

“And for this to happen, Zahid needs to step down,” the Bersatu Supreme Council member told FMT, adding that under Zahid, the party was struggling to stay afloat.

Rafiq claimed that support for Umno among the Malays was dwindling because Zahid was backing DAP, its one-time bitter rival who are now allies in the unity government.

He was commenting on a call by Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for his party to invite all Malays to return to its fold and get members from splinter political parties like Bersatu and PAS to reunite under Umno for the sake of the Malays.

Tengku Razaleigh said the splits that led to the creation of different parties had weakened the collective political influence of the Malays.

Rafiq went on to say that the party was prepared to join forces with Umno, but only if it abandoned PKR and DAP.

“And we could go back to the original plan for PAS, Bersatu and Umno to govern the country under Muafakat Nasional,” he said, referring to the alliance that Umno and PAS formed in September 2019, which was aimed at uniting the Malay-Muslim electorate, at a time when both parties were in the opposition.

PAS had also wanted Bersatu to join MN, though this was strongly opposed by Umno.