Umno says BN willing to back unity govt, as long as not led by Perikatan

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Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leaves Istana Negara after an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong November 23, 2022. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leaves Istana Negara after an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong November 23, 2022. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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By Zarrah Morden

Thursday, 24 Nov 2022 2:11 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — The Umno supreme council has unanimously made the decision today for Barisan Nasional (BN) to support and join a unity government, provided it is not led by Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said in a statement that the party has also agreed for its candidates who won seats in the 15th general election (GE15) to abide by any form of a unity government or otherwise as decreed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

"The supreme council has unanimously decided to support and uphold the command of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for Umno to support and take part in a unity government that is not led by PN to ensure the formation of a stable and prosperous government,” said the statement released early this morning after the council's meeting.

He said this decision was made following the meeting's review of both proposals from PN and rival Pakatan Harapan (PH).

BN met PN representatives at the St Regis Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and PH prior to that on Monday at the Seri Pacific Hotel.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob arrives for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional at St Regis Kuala Lumpur November 23, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob arrives for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional at St Regis Kuala Lumpur November 23, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Umno also reiterated its support for party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to remain in the post as well as chairman of BN.

This comes as MCA secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon had urged yesterday for Ahmad Zahid to be replaced by his deputy Mohamad Hasan, also known as Tok Mat, as Barisan chairman.

As a result, Umno division chiefs will gather this afternoon to demand Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong's resignation as MCA president.

Meanwhile, a copy of a letter purportedly signed by Wee, MIC president Tan Sri S. Vigneswaran and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah deputy president Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup calling for a vote of no-confidence in Ahmad Zahid has gone viral online. Malay Mail reached out to the trio to verify its authenticity but did not receive an answer.

Others who have demanded the Umno president’s resignation include Umno leaders Khairy Jamaluddin, former information chief Shahril Hamdan, Selangor Umno chief Tan Sri Noh Omar, Johor Mentri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi and MIC vice-president Datuk C. Sivarraajh.

Besides that, Ahmad also announced that the Umno general assembly for this year will take place between December 21 and 24.

The BN supreme council is set to meet this morning to weigh up the options presented by PH and PN.

Meanwhile, Yang di-Pertuan Agong will meet his fellow Malay Rulers today to seek their views on solving the political impasse following the 15th general election (GE15) that saw no coalition commanding a simple majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

It is understood that the Agong has proposed a unity government, with BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi divulging that the Agong requested for BN to be part of it in the meeting which also included deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and secretary-general Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir — rather than the original 30 MPs that were summoned by the palace.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was also summoned yesterday, and senior vice-president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who represented the coalition, also said that the Agong had advised it to consider the possible formation of a unity government.

Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leaves the Seri Pacific Hotel after meeting Pakatan Harapan in Kuala Lumpur November 21, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi leaves the Seri Pacific Hotel after meeting Pakatan Harapan in Kuala Lumpur November 21, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had on Tuesday refused the formation of a unity government with PH, saying the coalition will never work with its rivals.

PH and BN have so far seemed receptive to the idea of a unity government, either with each other plus GPS, or a grand coalition unity government.

PKR vice-president Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad reportedly vowed that any unity government with PH in it would represent the public across political spectrums, ethnicities, faiths, states, and territories within the nation, echoing the Agong’s request for an all-inclusive government.

BN’s Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said also stressed how a political party like Umno need not sell out on its principles and policies, remedying this by consenting to a joint manifesto in a unity government, although she seemed more amenable to a confidence-and-supply agreement to support a minority government.

In the GE15 last Saturday, PH won 82 seats to PN’s 73. BN won 30.