Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said Umno must avoid being seen as opportunistic and remember that only “powerless” individuals in the party are playing the early election card.
The Padang Rengas MP also implied that he did not see the urgency in the situation since the prime minister himself is a member of Umno.
The vocal lawmaker said the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition risked appearing like it had abandoned the people, which it had pledged to put first in the pandemic, if the call for a premature general election was heeded.
“I thought that our party defends the people. BN prioritises the people. But until we see an opportunity to win big (despite the current public health crisis), is this for the sake of the people or is it for the sake of the party?
“Please use your brain. Don’t let a slogan just be a slogan. When it turns into a reality, we become opportunists. Suddenly, we see an opportunity to win like we did in Johor and Melaka We have to ask the people; it is they who are suffering,” he told reporters on the sidelines of his party’s general meeting at the World Trade Centre (WTC).
Commenting further on his party colleagues who are pushing for an early general election, Nazri said there are terms in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the Opposition bloc that had yet to be met, one of which he cited as the anti-party-hopping law.
“If today we announce that we would like an early election to happen, it does not show that we are sincere about implementing the law,” the former law minister added.
Earlier today, another Umno lawmaker, Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also the health minister, said the prime minister had the final say on whether Parliament should be dissolved to trigger a general election amid the pandemic.
Khairy said that he was confident that as the head of government, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, would keep the public health situation in mind.
Yesterday, Nazri reminded Umno leaders not to overstep their authority in pushing for the 15th general election (GE15) to be held this year.
While he did not name names, it is understood that Nazri was referring to Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s opening speech on Wednesday for the party’s wings, in which he said it would be ideal for GE15 to take place this year, as Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) should “strike at enemies when they are weak”.
Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz has hit out at Umno leaders pressuring for snap general election, telling them to exercise some brainpower.
Nazri said Umno and BN have always portrayed themselves as a party for the people, but rushing to call for the general election indicated otherwise.
“If we see now that as a party, we have a chance to win big (in GE15), which do we prioritise? The party or the people’s interest?
“The people are not ready yet (for GE15), (because of the) pandemic. Use your brains,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Umno general assembly today.
Umno leaders aligned with party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are pushing for snap polls, saying it should not be delayed.
This follows Umno winning two-thirds majorities in the Johor and Malacca state elections – albeit with less than 50 percent of popular votes each time.
Nazri said using the results in Johor and Malacca to justify snap election meant that Umno was opportunistic, and did not care for the people.
“It means this party only thinks about the party, not the people.
“Ask the people, they are suffering,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Padang Rengas MP also cautioned that snap polls would mean that plans to enact an anti-hopping law would be torpedoed.
He said this indicated Umno and BN were not serious about the matter.
Umno had lost 17 MPs to party hopping after the 2018 general election.
Meanwhile, Ketereh MP Annuar Musa – who is a federal minister – said Umno can’t unilaterally decide to hold snap polls.
He said this is because BN is just one out of three coalitions that make up the government.