PETALING JAYA: Former Umno president Najib Razak says the party should be willing to work with those it may consider as “enemies”, but only if they are accepted by the grassroots.
He said not many would have expected Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim to join forces, leading to Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the 2018 general election.
“And Dr Mahathir and DAP sitting at the same table and appointing DAP (leaders) to important positions … We never thought of all that, but it happened!,” he said in an interview with Astro Awani.
On making an alliance with former enemies, he said: “In today’s context, I say we have to look at all options, but with one condition. It has to be accepted by Umno’s leaders and members. Whatever we do, it must be accepted by the grassroots.”
However, any such alliances must be based on mutual trust and a willingness to work together, failing which they would crumble. “That’s what happened to PH (Pakatan Harapan). It’s foundation was not based on trust.”
FMT reported on Saturday that Umno leaders are believed to have decided to break with PPBM and the Perikatan Nasional coalition ahead of the next elections.
Najib dismissed suggestions that Umno had lost its direction and was divided. He maintained that any talk about a rift among its leadership should instead be viewed as a difference in opinion.
While he said the party was in unfamiliar territory when they became the opposition once they lost the last general election, Najib noted that Umno now is only a “part of the government” and did not have ultimate power.
“In this scenario, there are several opinions within Umno on what should be done,” he said. “I won’t call it a rift, but there are some who have differing opinions. But as a party which makes decisions in a democratic manner, I’m sure we will be able to come to an agreement when we need to.”