There was plenty of huffing and puffing at the Umno general assembly over the weekend followed by calls of “No Bersatu, No Anwar, No DAP”.
However, Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk says the party will work with anyone – including Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PKR’s leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP – to ensure it remains part of the government.
This despite Umno adopting a resolution at the general assembly to sever ties with the Perikatan Nasional government and calls for Umno leaders to resign from the Cabinet and government-linked companies.
On Monday, several Umno leaders met Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and earlier today, the prime minister said the Umno ministers would remain in the Cabinet.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says Umno leaders will remain in his Cabinet.
“Power is addictive and Umno is addicted to it,” said Azeem, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director.
“Umno has only been out of the government for 22 months. While it is not in complete control now as the prime minister is from Bersatu, many of its members hold important Cabinet posts.
“Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said ‘no’ to working with Anwar, DAP and Bersatu during the general assembly. I do not take the statement at face value. It is camouflage.
“The thing about the Umno general assembly is that it is almost always an orchestrated event and not an embodiment of what members and the grassroots feel.
“More so this year as it was done online and face-to-face at PWTC, including the presence of state Umno chiefs.
He pointed out state chiefs are appointed by the president and as such the speeches by the state chiefs were mostly “by Zahid’s supporters”.
Azeem said that if Umno could win 30 to 40 seats and if the party could join forces with other political parties to form the government of the day, it will do that.
He also said Umno was not bogged down by an ideology.
“Its ideology is pragmatism. Being a pragmatic party, it can do whatever it wants, as long as it gets whatever it wants to remain in power,” he said.
Azeem warned Umno’s biggest mistake would be to push for an early general election as there was no guarantee it would emerge on top.
He added the population was still trying to come to terms with the Covid-19 situation while the economy remains gloomy with lots of people unemployed.
“The last thing anyone wants is a general election. We remember that after the Sabah elections last year, the number of cases shot up,” said Azeem.
“If Umno pushes for a general election, the people are likely to punish them.
“Despite what Umno leaders say, there is no hard data which shows what the population really thinks about the current government and their sentiments towards Umno.
“Right now it is about survival. No one wants another Movement Control Order as their livelihood is at stake. They will look to blame someone and that could work against Umno.”
Azeem said Umno cannot wash its hands as it is part of the coalition running the nation and it should not betray the people.
Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.
CORPORATIONS STEP UP TO HELP SPREAD AWARENESS ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINATION
Several corporations have pledged to help the government to convince more people to sign up for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
Pos Malaysia’s postmen will drop off flyers, door to door, especially in states and areas where the take-up rate for the vaccine remains low.
Grab has also expressed interest in assisting the government. This includes identifying drop-off points to the vaccination centres to ensure drivers are available to and from the centres and to hand out flyers via their delivery riders.
Retail chain Parkson will set up registration counters in 20 outlets nationwide. St John Ambulance will offer its ambulances and medical team at the vaccination centres while sports marketing agency Living Minds will identify 12 footballers to be ambassadors for the vaccination programme.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said some seven million people have registered for the Covid-19 vaccine to date.
“The first priority will be to utilise all channels, delivery, retail or athletes who are influencers, to convince and influence people to register for the vaccination,” said Khairy.
“The more influencers the people hear from, the more flyers they read, we will see an increase in the number of registrations.”
BANK NEGARA CONFIDENT OF UP TO 7.5% ECONOMIC GROWTH
Malaysia’s economy is expected to grow between six and 7.5 per cent this year, said Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Yunus.
She said Gross Domestic Product would achieve pre-Covid-19 levels by mid-2021, while an accelerating immunisation campaign would improve confidence.
Malaysia’s economy shrank 3.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 with the Covid-19 resurgence, bringing the full-year contraction to 5.6 per cent.
AZMIN TO LEAD TRADE TEAM TO SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali will lead a trade and investment mission to South Korea and Japan for six days from tomorrow.
This is his first official trade and investment mission since taking office on March 10, 2020.
Japan was Malaysia’s fourth-largest global trading partner in 2020 with total trade between the countries RM122.73 billion. South Korea was Malaysia’s seventh-largest trading partner in 2020. Total trade stood at RM79.78 billion.
BANGI GETS ‘GOLD MINE’ IN THE FORM OF NEW ATHLETICS FACILITIES
With land in the Klang Valley being robbed in the name of development, a gold mine has been found in Bangi.
This Friday, Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming will launch the upgraded Section 15 Sports Complex with a new running track as its main feature.