Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said he now planned to work on getting Umno MPs to support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the next prime minister, following the announcement today that Tengku Adnan and not he is the rightful BN secretary-general.
Nazri told news portal Malaysiakini that he also wanted to strengthen Umno and PAS cooperation.
“I want to ensure Anwar will get support when he becomes PM. I want to focus on getting as many Umno MPs to support him as PM,” Nazri was quoted as saying.
“I believe in Anwar. I am a 100% Anwar supporter. No change,” the Padang Rengas MP told FMT.
But he said he was not pitting Anwar against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I am saying that between them (Anwar and Mahathir), they have agreed to give the chair to Anwar. I support their agreement,” he added.
Nazri said his support for Anwar was not something new as he had backed the PKR leader in the early 1990s when the latter was with Umno.
He said the difference was that he remained an Umno member while Anwar was sacked from the party.
The former tourism and culture minister reportedly said he met with Anwar last year and promised to provide the PKR leader with Umno’s support in exchange for not dissolving Umno.
Last October, he declared that he is a “hardcore supporter” of Anwar and even volunteered to campaign for the latter when he contested in the Port Dickson by-election.
Nazri said he was committed to ensuring Umno wins big in the next general election.
“I would like to pursue this Malay agenda within Umno and PAS. They (Malays) would support the agenda,” he said, adding that Malay rights should not be questioned while at the same time should not be seen as extreme.
The outspoken MP is optimistic the Umno-PAS alliance will result in a government which will implement pro-Malay policies while protecting the rights of the minority.
Regarding the post of BN secretary-general, Nazri expressed his preference for Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to be appointed instead of Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor.
“I would have preferred Hishammuddin, he was an experienced long-time minister…very mild character.”
“He would have been good for the job, but Tengku Adnan…,” he reportedly said.
After today’s Barisan Nasional supreme council’s meeting, the coalition’s acting chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said Nazri’s appointment as secretary-general was never finalised.
On the bright side, Nazri said he was “comfortable” not being the secretary-general as this would allow him to speak his mind without having to look “behind his back.”
“I am a maverick. I don’t like to be tied to a post which will make it difficult to express my views,” he was quoted as saying.
Related report: Mar 8, BN Sec-Gen Is Kun Nan, Not Nazri