Barisan Nasional (BN) has assured that the coalition will support Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim until after the 16th general election.
Its chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expressed confidence the cooperation with Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan (PH) will cause less harm than Perikatan Nasional.
The Bagan Datuk MP also issued a reminder that the unity government in existence now would not have been possible without BN.
“Even though Umno and BN’s 30 parliamentary seats are complementary, if PH has 82 seats without these 30, there will be no unity government.
“What we think is not about benefit but the harm it may cause…which party poses more harm.
“But we decided that the small damage is to Datuk Seri and that ‘damage’ brings more benefit to the people,” he said, referring to Anwar.
In his speech at the inaugural National Unity Government Convention today, he further called on party leaders to continue to support Anwar and defend the government.
“I am confident if we help Anwar as much as possible, idealism can be translated into good policies.
“Don’t look back. There are people who don’t like us, there are people who criticise us. (Don’t) bother about that. The people want this unity government to move forward for the sake of the people.”
Zahid called on Anwar to help restore Malaysia as a front-runner among Asian countries.
“Don’t worry, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and others will support Anwar’s ideals on the international stage,” he said.
The inaugural convention was held at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.
Zahid also pointed out that 25 years ago, Anwar had been humiliated and insulted at the same venue, Dewan Merdeka, where today’s convention was being held.
But 25 years later, Anwar had become the country’s prime minister.
“I’m confident that the unity government’s idealism and good policies (under Anwar’s leadership) will ensure this administration will last until the 16th General Election,” he said.
Zahid also invited all 4,000-strong delegates to give Anwar a standing ovation. He welcomed the 19 component parties under the unity government to Umno’s home base.
“Back then, one would feel daunted seeing the colours of red (Umno’s colour) or blue (Barisan Nasional’s colour).
“I congratulate everyone as everyone is wearing white (to signify the solidarity of the unity government),” he said.
DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke later told reporters that he agreed with Zahid’s sentiment that the BN-Harapan cooperation can be extended for the long term.
“If this cooperation can be strengthened and if all the parties that formed the government can provide full commitment, then surely this government can last beyond GE16,” he said.
He expressed hope to continue this model which he said was a “new beginning” for Malaysia’s future.
Speaking to reporters, Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the event signified a strong and stable government.
Asked about if Muda would provide its election machinery to the government in the upcoming state elections, Syed Saddiq said a meeting would be held soon to discuss it.
The Muar MP, however, kept mum on the party’s application to join the Harapan coalition.
“It’s best to ask that question to the Harapan leadership. As we are all aware, we (Muda) have already forwarded our letters three times. I think the response is best left to them.
“But let’s not cloud what has happened today. It’s a good sign that we are invited to take part,” he added.
Muda had previously lamented a lack of invitations to coalition government meetings despite showing support for the government.