Umno will not settle playing second fiddle to Bersatu in the ruling Perikatan National (PN) and will only be part of this “uneasy coalition” until the next general election, said Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming.
Ong, who is also DAP assistant national director for political education, said any form of cooperation between Bersatu and Umno will likely cease once Parliament is dissolved.
In a statement today, he added that Umno leaders and members will not accept the current power-sharing arrangement in the long term.
“Most importantly, from a political strategy perspective, Umno leaders must realise that Bersatu’s ultimate goal is to replace Umno in the political arena as the dominant Malay party in government.
“This is the only way that Bersatu can survive post GE15 and Umno knows this.”
Ong, who is the former deputy minister of international trade and industry, said Umno is not used to playing number two in government, especially not when it has 41 MPs to Bersatu’s 29.
Yet Bersatu, he said, has more ministers and deputy ministers than Umno.
To top it up, Ong said most of the key ministries – education, home affairs, economy, rural development, trade and industry – are headed by Bersatu MPs or individuals aligned to the prime minister.
He said Umno also faced the unprecedented experience of its president, deputy president and two of its vice-presidents not having any government positions.
The only exception is Ismail Sabri Yaakob, an Umno vice-president who is made defence minister and one of the four senior ministers.
“Furthermore, Umno MPs who are elected members of its supreme council were not given any government positions while Umno MPs who are not part of the top leadership of the party were made ministers.”
To rub salt to the wound, Ong said Sabah Umno was completely left out of the cabinet in favour of Bersatu MPs who had left Umno and PKR.
“This situation is not one that sits comfortably with Umno’s leadership.”
In the statement that was issued by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on March 12 after a supreme council meeting that Ong said “put so many caveats in its support for Muhyiddin Yassin’s government”.
“There was no mention of any efforts to strengthen Perikatan Nasional as a ruling coalition.
“Instead, the Umno president went out of his way to mention efforts to strengthen its partnership with PAS via Muafakat Nasional and to build up the strength of Barisan Nasional.
“Most importantly, the statement ended with a commitment to support the new government only until the next general election.”
Ong said seat sharing between Bersatu, Umno and PAS could be a source of problem in the next general election where the three Malay-Muslim parties competed in 47 parliament seats in peninsular Malaysia in the last general election.
These include seats like Titiwangsa, where Bersatu’s Rina Harun, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development defeated former second finance minister Johari Abdul Ghani of Umno; and Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa of Umno defeated Education Minister Mohd Radzi Jidin from Bersatu for the Ketereh constituency.
Radzi was appointed senator before being given the education portfolio.
Ong said it is also hard to imagine Umno having many positive feelings about defectors in Bersatu “much less negotiating with Bersatu to allow these incumbent Bersatu MPs to continue to contest in these seats with Umno and PAS support”.
“It is hard to see Umno or PAS both giving way to these Bersatu MPs in GE15.” – TMI