Ministerial and other political appointments for Umno leaders were part of a plan to grow Bersatu by enticing them to defect, claimed Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
He said this was revealed by Bersatu’s top leadership as it sought to assure party leaders that Bersatu will not be marginalised within the Perikatan Nasional coalition and has a plan to eventually become dominant.
The plan called for certain Umno lawmakers to be given appointments in the cabinet and government-linked companies – those who are not hardcore Umno supporters or are close to the Bersatu leadership, who can be enticed to defect.
“We wouldn’t appoint Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan because he’s totally into Umno and won’t even consider joining Bersatu, but we pick certain Umno leaders, give them postings and slowly entice them to join Bersatu so that Bersatu becomes the dominant party.
“That’s why GLC appointments were given to several Umno political figures. Ministers were also chosen from among those who may be quite close to the Bersatu leadership. But to date, that is not happening.
“That’s why I think these questions should be answered by the party leadership and Umno leadership so that people would know and make their own judgement,” Syed Saddiq said during a talk show streamed on his Facebook page last night.
The talk was moderated by Bersatu Youth information chief Ulya Aqamah Husamudin and was also joined by Bersatu supreme council member Maszlee Malik.
He was answering questions from Ulya, as well as following up on Maszlee’s explanation of how Bersatu would become marginalised and face the prospect of a rout in the 15th general election.
According to a tally by Malaysiakini as of yesterday, only 13 out of 39 (33.33 percent) Umno parliamentarians have not yet been appointed as a minister, deputy minister, a GLC board member or given some other political appointment.
This is a larger proportion than Bersatu’s two out of 32 (6.25 percent) MPs without such appointments but the balance could still shift as more appointments are made.
Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq questioned whether there is an agreement between PN parties to avoid overlapping claims during the 15th general election.
He said Bersatu’s top leadership had assured that Umno and PAS would not contest in parliamentary and state assembly seats currently held by Bersatu representatives but his conversations with Umno leaders have revealed otherwise.
“I want to ask the Umno and PAS leadership whether such agreement had been made because we were briefed that there was already an agreement.
“I ask this because when I meet my friends in Umno and there are top leaders among them, they said it is inconceivable they would forgo Hamzah Zainudin’s (Tambun) seat that was previously Umno’s seat. There are 13 Umno MPs that joined Bersatu.
“They would not let go of the Gombak seat held by Azmin Ali, the Ampang seat under Zuraida Kamaruddin, or any other seats.
“Not only that, but they also won’t let go of the Muar and Simpang Renggam seats – all these are previously strategic seats for Umno and BN.
“But what we were briefed was that there is already an agreement. That’s why I want to ask them – is it true there was an agreement that Umno and PAS would not contest in any Bersatu-held seats, that 37 Bersatu MPs would contest without facing Umno or PAS?” he said.
He added that party leaders have also assured that PN will be a permanent coalition that will go into the next general election together, but recent developments have shown that other PN component parties see the coalition as a temporary entity.
Instead, he said the Muafakat Nasional pact between Umno and PAS appears to move as one. – Malaysiakini