KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The UMNO General Assembly 2020 which closed its curtains yesterday saw the party’s resolute action in reaching a stand to give the party leadership the mandate to determine when it should withdraw its support for Perikatan Nasional (PN).
This follows the ‘clean break’ decision reached by the UMNO Supreme Council (MT) to sever political ties with Bersatu in the 15th General Election (GE15) which was unanimously agreed by party delegates at the assembly.
The biggest Malay party which has 3.35 million members had previously decided to remain with PN government until Parliament is dissolved.
The action was described as something rather shocking at the end of the annual assembly which was held for two days starting yesterday.
The assembly this time gave a clear signal that UMNO wants to rise again and lead the country.
Political analyst from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Izani Mohd Zain said the action was aimed at putting pressure on the government.
“This assembly is different from before and this time it is more focused on the political strategy that needs to be taken by UMNO for its survival,” he told Bernama when contacted.
UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in his winding-up speech at the hybrid assembly attended by about 2,600 delegates said the proposal was brought by several state UMNO Liaison Committee chairmen who debated the president’s policy speech.
Speaking in the same tone, deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan stressed that if the party decides to leave PN as proposed by the state UMNO Liaison Committees in August, all party leaders should unanimously approve it.
Commenting further, Mohd Izani, however, believed that the decision taken by UMNO was not a ‘full stop’, but a ‘comma’.
“It is not impossible that the cooperation with Bersatu will be re-established after the election, especially when both parties do not have enough seats to form a government,” he said.
Meanwhile, a sociopolitical analyst from Universiti Malaya Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the move would enable UMNO, which leads Barisan Nasional (BN), to contest more seats in GE15.
“If UMNO cooperates with Bersatu, at least 50 parliamentary seats will have to be handed over to the party. I think this is a concern for UMNO,” he said.
He said although the assembly was seen to be more dominated by issues related to Bersatu and Muafakat Nasional, those related to the people’s wellbeing were also highlighted.