Puad drops none too subtle hint unity govt with Pakatan is on

Ravin Palanisamy

The Umno Supreme Council meets to decide the party’s fate as Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional both court its favour. – Facebook pic, November 24, 2022.

UMNO Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi has given the clearest indication that the party could work with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to form a unity government.

The former Batu Pahat lawmaker gave a “hint” on Facebook of a possible deal between the two coalitions after the Umno Supreme Council late last night rejected the idea of a Perikatan Nasional-led (PN) unity government. 

“In the party headquarters, a lot of reporters (after the meeting) asked if it was PH or PN. The answer is simple: PN rejected a unity government.

“Meanwhile, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) said it will follow the king’s decree. 

“The formation of the Perak and Pahang governments is the best ‘clue’. Surely not PN,” he said.

In Perak, PH reached an agreement with Barisan Nasional (BN) to form the state government and allowed Menteri Besar Saarani Mohamad to keep his post, although PH took vastly more seats than BN.

PN claimed the greatest number of seats, but could not achieve a majority.

Talks are also positive about a possible PH-BN government in Pahang. Similarly, PN was again the ‘winner’ but not by a margin of overall majority.

In the early hours of this morning, Umno said it had rejected the idea of joining PN to set up a coalition government, saying it will instead support the king’s proposal for a unity government.

Party secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said the Supreme Council met last night to consider the PN and PH proposals for partnership after the general election failed to yield a clear winner. 

Umno won only 26 seats, while its coalition partners won four more to make up a paltry total of 30.

“The Supreme Council unanimously decided to support and uphold the king’s edict for BN to take part in an unity government that isn’t led by PN, to ensure a stable and harmonious government can be formed,” Ahmad said in a statement. 

Puad said Umno was very democratic when the decision to reject PN was reached and claimed that the party would soon get on the ground to explain its position to grassroots support. 

He also urged BN allies, MIC and MCA, to follow suit. 

“MIC and MCA must accept the fact. Let’s go, Malaysians. 

“Moving forward, let’s open a new chapter,” he added. 

The king and other Malay rulers will meet this morning to discuss how to form the next government with parliament in limbo.

PH won 82 of 221 seats in the snap polls. PN collected 73. 

The election for one more seat – Padang Serai – was postponed to December 7 after the incumbent died during the campaign period. – November 24, 2022.

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