Umno grassroots feel compelled to support DAP, says party veteran

Mohd Farhan Darwis

Umno veteran Mustapha Yaakub says grassroots members are confused by calls from party leaders to support Anwar Ibrahim and DAP in the state elections. – Umno Online pic, May 26, 2023.

UMNO’S leadership will have to explain to their grassroots members why it is important for them to support Pakatan Harapan (PH) – especially DAP – in the state elections, a party veteran said.

Umno Veterans Association secretary Mustapha Yaakub said these members are confused with current instructions to support Anwar Ibrahim and DAP.

“They are confused because before GE15 the slogan was ‘No to DAP, No to Anwar’, but now it has become ‘Yes to DAP, Yes to Anwar’.

“DAP, which was Umno’s long-time enemy, is now a friend. Umno members feel they are being forced to get along with DAP,” Mustapha told The Malaysian Insight.

He said members are still suspicious and finding it difficult to change their stand because they have always seen DAP as being hostile towards the Malays.

That is different from the perception the members have towards non-Malays in MIC and MCA who have been allies with Umno since before independence.

“They are not anti-Chinese but anti-DAP, which has always been anti-Malay. They used to vote for Chinese and Indian candidates before because MCA and MIC have been Umno’s partners in BN for a long time.

“So political sentiments will be an obstacle for Umno members to accept new friends in PH, especially DAP,” Mustapha said, adding that it will be difficult to change that sentiment overnight.

“Umno is suspicious and doesn’t trust DAP, and DAP is also suspicious and doesn’t trust Umno. They were enemies and fighting each other for so long but now they want to make peace and be friends,” he said.

The cooperation between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan will be tested in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu in the state polls. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 26, 2023.

He still hoped that party leaders could persuade the members to end all suspicions since cooperation in the unity government is still fragile.

“Although it is not easy to persuade (the people), it is not impossible to convince them. There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics.

“Umno and DAP have no other choice but to cooperate and help each other to win the state polls,” he said.

He also urged leaders from BN and PH to explain to each other’s grassroots why this cooperation is needed.

“The short or long cooperation between Umno and PH depends on the wisdom of the respective leaders.

“If the captain fails to steer the ship properly then it will drift and sink. But if the captain steers it wisely, the ship will safely reach the shore.

“It must be remembered that this cooperation is fragile and if we are not careful, it will fall apart,” added Mustapha.

The cooperation between BN and PH will be tested in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu in the polls which must take place this year.

The campaign to strengthen cooperation between the two parties over the past few days saw Umno and DAP leaders urging party members to vote for the candidates of both parties.

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, among others, asked party members to support DAP candidates in their respective areas to strengthen the position of the unity government.

A similar call was made by DAP national publicity secretary Teo Nie Ching who asked the party’s members and supporters to vote for their constituency’s Umno candidate in the polls.

She said Umno is now a component party in the unity government and support for the Malay party is important to ensure political stability at the central and state levels. – May 26, 2023.

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