GEORGE TOWN, Sept 10 — Senator Khairul Azwan Harun called today for Umno to distance itself from allying itself with “far-right” PAS and revisit its moderate and centrist political approach.
He said the PAS-Umno election pact in the three by-elections has been ineffective.
“Our machinery worked hard, one that we’ve been relying on for years, was unsuccessful, again,” the Umno supreme council member said in a statement.
He said Umno’s future is now dimmer based on the results in the three by-elections since the May 9 general election as the party still lost despite the end of the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s 100-day “honeymoon period”.
“The pullback effect was supposed to have begun, Sales and Service Tax, higher costs of living and underperforming ministers were supposed to be a factor. But we still lost,” he said.
He said the lower voter turnout in all three by-elections was also supposed to be in favour of Umno, but it didn’t help.
Umno contested in the Sungai Kandis by-election, the first to be called after GE14. It sat out the twin polls last Saturday in Balakong — which was contested by fellow Barisan Nasional partner MCA — and Seri Setia, which PAS contested, but campaigned for its former rival.
Khairul Azwan concluded that this meant voters don’t want an Opposition that openly focuses on Malay and Islam.
“That has never been how Umno won elections in the past,” he added.
He said Umno needs to go back to its moderate and centrist ways that had earned respect from non-Malays, instead of using fear to draw votes.
Khairul Azwan said Umno can only cooperate with PAS on legislative matters and policies that they share interests in.
“We should maintain our ideological differences. Umno’s identity is distinct, we were founded on cooperative and moderate principles, not far-right politics,” he said.
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