'BN must discuss its future or be relegated to history'

Ahmad Suhael Adnan

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional leaders have been urged to discuss the party’s direction as soon as possible or risk extinction. The Council of Former Elected Representatives (Mubarak) president, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, cautioned that more component parties would leave BN if no strategic planning or a new ‘captain’ is put forward soon. He said the BN Supreme Council must convene as soon as possible and discuss all aspects, including the possibility of the party’s dissolution or replacing it with a new cooperation. “BN do not have an ‘opposition DNA’ and has never been not in control for more than 60 years, hence why they are in a muddle at the moment. “This is why there is a pressing need to carve out a clear direction as well as leadership, or else we will see more component parties leave BN as it has lost its leader. “All aspects must be put on the table, especially on how BN and Umno, as the backbone, can regain its glory years, and whether the party has deviated from its original mission which is to uphold the rights of the people,” he told NSTP. Abdul Aziz was commenting on a statement by Umno Veterans Club secretary-general, Datuk Mustapha Yaakub, who had called for BN to be dissolved as it has become “irrelevant.” This, said Mustapha, was because the spirit of Perikatan (alliance) which once bonded Umno, MCA and MIC has disappeared. On Tuesday, BN was rocked when its component parties in Sarawak announced that it was leaving the coalition. The parties - Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) - were leaving to form a new alliance, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). With the withdrawal of its Sarawak components, BN is now left with only four component parties, which are Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan. MyPPP’s status remains unclear due to infighting among its leadership. Meanwhile, deputy Umno Youth chief, Khairul Azwan Harun, said BN’s future, whether it is dissolved or otherwise, lies in the hands of each component party leaders who is still within the coalition. BN, he said, can still exist even if only two parties are willing to continue the present cooperation. “I suggest that this cooperation is continued, with an absolute change in place involving all angles including branding, structure as well as approach. “Direct membership should also be implemented without making it compulsory for one to become a component party member first. “BN will be dead and buried if all these aren’t done.”

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