Zahid: Why are we afraid of holding GE15 during pandemic?

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Umno President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called for the 15th General Election (GE15) to be held as soon as possible despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the elections could still be held with new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place.

“Why are we afraid of holding a general election during the pandemic? More than 30 countries have already done so.

“Why is Malaysia so afraid? I think that we’re not really scared of Covid-19 but of other things,” he said in his opening speech at the Bagan Datuk Umno division meeting at Kompleks Umno Bagan Datuk today.

Ahmad Zahid said the people are keen to see Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) helm the government again.

“Umno and BN have a good track record and we have governed the country the longest. Everyone in the country was well-taken care of.

“As such, the GE15 must be immediately held. Use the new SOP for the next general election.

“We know that Covid-19 is still here and must be avoided, but we must follow the SOP,” he said.

The Bagan Datuk member of parliament added that the Umno and BN will contest all parliamentary and state seats it had won in the GE14.

“That is our right. We have also decided that during the next general election, we will be contesting under the BN logo. We are not going to use any other party’s logo,” he said.

Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said Umno aims to contest in not less than 96 parliamentary seats in the GE15 after taking into account negotiations with component parties in BN, PAS and Bersatu.

He said that based on the initial formula of the negotiations, Umno would continue to hold on to the 55 seats won in the GE14.

“We want to retain and contest in the seats we won. We also want to contest in the seats where we were number two (second highest votes at the GE14).

“We also find that there are seats our BN colleagues never won, because voters there want a Malay candidate, for example.

Nazir Sufari/TMI

“Basically, the BN components also agree (on the issue of seat distribution). In the GE15, we want to win, we must win to form a government, not a seat to brag.

“We must scrutinise every seat, geopolitics, voter pattern and locality,” he told reporters after launching the Rembau Division Umno Delegates Meeting today.

Commenting on Umno election director Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s statement that Umno would only work with PAS without involving Bersatu in the GE15, Mohamad said any decision is based on the party’s conclusion.

“That is his (Tajuddin) right to speak, not the party’s decision yet. For a decision, the party can bring it to the Supreme Council meeting and the next Umno General Assembly,” he said.

Asked following the decision of several Umno divisions to reject co-operation with Bersatu to face the GE15, he said the party must first build its own strength without having to reject the co-operation.

On the statement by BN Secretary-General Tan Sri Annuar Musa, who thought that Umno could not move solo, Mohamad said the party had its own strengths.

“Don’t say we cannot win if we are alone…all these while we are alone too, but in the last GE14, we made a little mistake. But it is better if there is co-operation. If there is no co-operation, what is important is that we empower ourselves and the party, “he explained.

Annuar at the Ketereh Division Umno Delegates Meeting yesterday stressed that Umno could not be ‘alone’ in the political arena if it wants to achieve success in the GE15, because moving solo was not a winning formula for the party.

Meanwhile, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan has urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to call for elections soon as the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government only has a slim majority.

He was reported by Umno Online as saying that the government is weak, and an election should be called in order to strengthen its mandate.

“Because the PN government has the thinnest majority in the world. To be a government, there must be 112 (seats in Dewan Rakyat) and this government only has 112. Therefore, we recommend holding a general election as soon as possible,” Ahmad said.

The former deputy minister said PN’s majority will be strengthened if an election is called, as more seats will be won.

“I think it would be good to restore political stability in our country, and we hope not 111 plus another, when after the election 111 plus 40 or plus 50 so that this government is stable,” Ahmad said.

The Pontian MP said PN should no longer use the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason to delay the polls as the vaccines were to arrive in February.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“Do not use Covid-19 as an excuse for us to delay what should be done. Once the vaccine has arrived, there is no reason to make Covid-19 a hindrance to the general election,” Ahmad said.

Related reports:

Jan 3, Don’t drag us into political polemics, PAS says amid Umno-Bersatu quarrel

Jan 2, Umno veep says party will not be part of “weak, directionless” PN in GE15

Jan 2, Don’t contest in Pahang, Umno tells Bersatu

Jan 2, Umno polls chief: No working with Bersatu in GE15