Umno delegates no longer see DAP as bogeyman 

Mohd Farhan Darwis

Umno members say DAP is no longer viewed as a threat, and did it come under any attack in debates. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 11, 2023.

THE tone at the Umno annual general assembly this time was different as far as DAP was concerned, delegates said.

They said DAP was no longer labelled as a threat, and it did not come under any attack in debates.

In fact, Umno leaders and delegates took turns to explain to the grassroots the need for political cooperation with DAP and Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Bangi Umno division chief Zaidi Md Zain in his speech said Malays do not need to fear DAP.

“Why do we want to scare the Malays with DAP? In Selangor, from GE12 to GE14, DAP had only 13 to 15 seats. Nothing more than that.

“As for the total of 56 state seats in Selangor, DAP only contested 1.4%. Even if it wins, it will not overcome the number of other parties’ seats. What is there to be afraid of?” he said in a debate session at the assembly.

Damansara Umno’s deputy head Amin Shukor said apart from convincing the grassroots and party members, Umno also must gain the confidence of the people if they want to improve their performance in the state polls. 

“Umno has to get out of member-centric sentiments. That is the most important thing. 

“If we only focus on the grassroots within Umno, then the voters out there will forget us.

“We have to focus on the community at large.”

As such, he said, the party needs to play a big role in explaining to the people about the unity government.

He added that being part of the unity government has seen Umno being given portfolios that allows them to directly reach the people.

“We have the deputy prime minister’s post who is also in charge of rural affairs, and we have Umno leaders in government linked companies.

“We see the results of the work that’s being done for the community. This work needs to be explained to the people,” he said.

He added that being in the government also allowed Umno to keep control over DAP, especially on matters pertaining to Malay issues.

“To fully accept DAP 100% is impossible but the work must be done right. The Malay sentiment is that it is not easy to accept DAP but we have to cooperate with them. 

“Based on my observations DAP is not big-headed, when it comes to the Malays.”

Umno leadership also set the tone in the relationship with DAP with party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi dismissing calls for an apology from DAP, saying that whatever animosity between the two parties was over when the unity government was formed and should not be raised again.

Umno leaders and delegates explain to grassroots the need for political cooperation with DAP and Pakatan Harapan. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, June 11, 2023.

Looking ahead

Umno Youth vice-chairman Mohd Hairi Mad Shah said the party leadership should also be open-minded and look ahead.

“DAP had criticised Umno previously, just as strongly as Barisan Nasional and Umno have been hitting out at DAP.

“We are now sitting in a unity government and we are reflecting on our new relationship. Both parties should keep an open mind.

“I ask the PH components with the formation of the unity government to find common ground that is strong and stable for the sake of political stability,” he said.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia analyst Mazlan Ali was of the view Umno succeeded in enlightening its grassroots on the cooperation with DAP at the meeting.

He said the people’s acceptance was increasing for all the parties in the unity government.

“One of the things that Umno is aware of is that it is no longer dominant.

“It is not difficult for the grassroots to understand the leadership’s explanation on DAP.

“It is also the duty of the elected representatives to explain the situation to the grassroots.” –  June 11, 2023.

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