Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin has scoffed at claims that there may be a new coalition of Malay-Bumiputera parties, adding that it will be even more odd to have Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leading talks on the coalition with Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said this was because Zahid was facing more than 30 charges for accepting bribes amounting to over RM40 million from an Umno-linked company and for pocketing money meant for charity.
“In that sense, Zahid isn’t the best person to be leading any multi-party negotiation and it would be odd for the prime minister to be talking serious politics with an accused person,” he wrote on his blog, The Scribe.
He said there were reports which had allegedly quoted Zahid as saying that Umno had no choice but to work with Mahathir since PAS had done so.
“But when I mentioned this to the prime minister sometime later, he quipped: ‘Dia (Zahid) ada sokongan ka? (Does Zahid have the support?)” the special adviser on media and communications to the prime minister said.
He said Umno had been hit by a crisis of sorts and several Umno members and its Supreme Council members had opposed the idea and said: “Zahid was not the right person to be engaging in any talks with Mahathir”.
Kadir said this pit Zahid’s supporters against diehards of former prime minister Najib Razak, and those who were independent of the two.
He further said any idea about a Malay or Bumiputera-only government was bad as it was retrogressive and against the ideals of New Malaysia.
As such, he said he did not give much thought to the media frenzy on a new coalition of Malay-Bumiputera parties supposedly coalescing around Mahathir.
“I don’t know how and when this idea cropped up.
“But if I’m not mistaken, it came about when a picture of the prime minister, his wife Dr Siti Hasmah, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, and Dr Mahathir’s stalwart Khairuddin Abu Hassan having tea made its rounds in the media,” he added.
However, he said, this should not have been a big deal as Mahathir meets all manner of people – friends and foes.
Kadir added that Mahathir had met Hadi several times before.
Kadir said as of now, the so-called “Pakatan Nasional” (National Alliance) was nothing more than “wild talk and social media feedstock”.
The new coalition is supposed to comprise elements from Mahathir’s PPBM, Umno, PAS, PKR rebels and Bumiputera parties from Sabah and Sarawak.
There are claims that DAP, the biggest non-Bumiputera majority party in the PH government, and Amanah, another coalition party of PH and a sworn enemy of PAS, are not part of the talks, Kadir said.
He said given its obvious Malay/Muslim-centric set-up, the alliance, if ever it materialises, was not likely to get the automatic support of the Bumiputera parties in Sabah and Sarawak where the majority of Bumiputeras are not Muslims.