KOTA BELUD, Jan 8 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today said the Malay nationalist party is open to work with any other, after denying speculation that his visit to Sabah was to settle an internal political tension.
Zahid who is also deputy prime minister said that politics is about being pragmatic and alliances can be formed as long as it forms a government that has the support of the majority.
“We can all have our own stand. But politics is pragmatic and alliances can happen between any political party,” he told reporters here when asked about the indications that Umno Sabah would forgo the national alliance’s relationship with the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition to work with the Opposition Parti Warisan for the state election due by December 2025.
“I would also say that we are ready to work with any parties, big or small. The important thing is that there is no slogan or movement harping on about local parties or national parties.
“We as a country need to have an open mind. It does not matter where we are from as long as we can represent the people and develop the country while looking after the people’s welfare,” he said at Upko’s Christmas open house in Taginambur, Kadamaian here.
Zahid said that the party was prepared to work with anyone but it would only make its official decision once the Sabah State Assembly is dissolved.
Asked about its terms and conditions, Zahid said that it had no stipulated terms but that its priority is political stability.
He said that he was in Sabah and had met with Umno leaders last night to update the parties’ election machinery following the last general election and state elections in peninsular Malaysia.
“We expect the next state election to be in Sabah, and even though it is only due by December next year, it is not wrong to start preparations early,” he said, while insisting that any speculation about internal strife within the party is non-existent.
Zahid said that Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) are currently working very well together at the national level and would like to extend the same concept to the state, but also that it allowed the state level leadership to decide on its direction.
“We have given them autonomy to decide. It is stipulated in Umno’s constitution. They have the right to choose their candidates and chief minister but the president and BN chairman have to be informed.
“So far they have respected this decision and we appreciate the effort taken by Datuk Seri Bung Moktar in unifying the grassroot to state level,” he said.
Zahid said that he has full confidence that state Umno chairman Bung could work with its deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan to bring the party back to the forefront of state politics.
“I believe that Bung, with the assistance of Rahman Dahlan, we will be there again, God willing, and be dominant if other parties are also supporting us,” he said.
Zahid was reported by several news agencies, including state-owned Bernama as heading to Kota Kinabalu today to defuse growing political tension within Umno as talk of a team up with Warisan is rife.
Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal had made strong indications of a tie-up for the next election which seems to be returned by Bung who attended Warisan’s convention last month.
But the talk was refuted by Rahman who said the party has made no such decision.
Umno and Warisan was said to be behind an attempted coup early last year to try and unseat GRS chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor but was thwarted when several PH and Umno assemblymen changed sides and supported Hajiji.