Unity government? Keep dreaming, MPs tell Zahid

PETALING JAYA: Two Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs have dismissed the possibility of Umno forming a coalition government with any PH component party, calling this a “bad idea”.

DAP’s Charles Santiago told FMT that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi could keep “wishing” for a unity government, adding however that it was unlikely to materialise as the people would revolt against it.

“In the May 9 polls, the people voted for a manifesto which vowed to set up a government that was different, and a rejection of Umno.

“People couldn’t stomach former prime minister Najib Razak and Umno,” the Klang MP said in response to Zahid’s comments reported by the New Straits Times.

Given Umno’s many decades in power, he said it was natural that the party should wish to return to government. However, he urged the PH leadership to make clear to the people that there was no room in the coalition for Umno.

“PH and its component parties shouldn’t underestimate the people’s resolve and expectations. We shouldn’t take this for granted or get trapped in Umno’s game.”

While he did not rule out the possibility that Umno members might join PH parties, he said the coalition needed to be careful about this to avoid turning into “Barisan Nasional 2.0”.

Meanwhile, PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen said it was a bad idea for any PH party to form a unity government with Umno, adding that there was a need to differentiate between working with the party in Parliament and as a government.

“If there are good laws which need their support in Parliament, it’s okay to work with them, but not as a unity government.”

He also dismissed rumours that PKR would work with Umno, noting that Umno leaders had not expressed any desire for this.

“That question is best addressed to PPBM because Umno members are leaving to join PPBM.”

Rumours have been swirling of a possible PKR-Umno tie-up due to Zahid’s close relationship with PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim. In the 1990s, Zahid served as Anwar’s deputy in Umno Youth.

However, in a separate interview, Zahid, the former deputy prime minister, said while he had met Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad twice since the May 9 polls, he had not met Anwar at all.

Zahid’s remarks came in the wake of Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa’s revelations that discussions between the party and PPBM had taken place.

Universiti Utara Malaysia political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff also played down the possibility of a unity government with any PH component, saying this would be opposed by the other parties.

He added that this was also unlikely as Umno would have the greater share of influence if it formed a unity government with any member of the PH coalition.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Kamarul said it was more likely that Umno MPs would be absorbed en masse into a PH component.

“My advice to Umno is to accept the bitter reality that it has lost and work towards making itself a solid opposition.

“Just wait until the next election to regain power and stop dreaming of becoming the government through the back door as this would destroy Umno’s influence.”