KUALA LUMPUR: Umno information chief Annuar Musa says the party needs to forget Barisan Nasional (BN) if it wants to remain relevant, including rebuilding itself to participate in a new coalition.
He said the party, which saw its worst electoral defeat last month, must become strong again before other parties come to it to form a new pact.
“We need to be strong first before we can find friends. If not, why do you think our BN partners previously stuck with Umno and regarded us as a pillar in the coalition?” the Ketereh MP and former minister said.
“It is because we had our strengths then. If Umno does not rebuild itself, we should not think of forming a coalition,” he told FMT at his residence in Bukit Damansara.
Annuar, who is also BN’s publicity and information bureau chairman, said he rejected the notion that Umno needed to rebuild BN in order to lead the charge in the next election.
He said the coalition was no longer politically relevant following its failure to retain federal power in the polls.
“I’m sorry, but to tell you the truth, BN is no longer relevant in the current context,” he said.
“When we lost power, the component parties in Sarawak of course found BN to be irrelevant. Similarly for political parties in Sabah as well as Gerakan,” he said, referring to Gerakan’s announcement of quitting BN on Saturday.
Earlier, on June 12, four Sarawak-based parties – Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Parti Demokratik Progresif (PDP) – announced that they had quit BN to form a pact called Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
The coalition is now left with only MCA and MIC.
Annuar said BN had all the while been a power-sharing pact, “not an opposition pact”.
“That is why the Sabah and Sarawak state governments now view BN’s current role as an opposition to be irrelevant.”
Annuar said forming a new pact with other parties was a normal practice in present times.
He said Umno must also be prepared to undertake such a pragmatic approach.
“We have seen it last time in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and then Pakatan Harapan (PH) and GPS.
“If PR can change, if GPS can change, then Umno cannot be rigid. Umno has been in BN for 56 years,” he said.
“Umno needs to think of a new pact, whether or not that pact remains in opposition or if it joins with the government or if it is an opposition pact that forms the government after the election,” he added.