KUALA LUMPUR — Umno should stay out of the Port Dickson by-election and not contest against PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
The Padang Rengas MP said his remarks were in response to Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who had reportedly said the party would fight to the death to win the Port Dickson parliamentary seat.
Nazri said it would be unwise for Umno to sour ties with Anwar and PKR by contesting the seat, as PKR is currently the biggest party in the ruling Pakatan Harapan.
He said Umno contesting in Port Dickson would also ruin a purported plan by Umno MPs to try and get back into government by forming an alliance with any party capable of getting them there.
“I want to do what is best for Umno. I want you to know that among Umno MPs, we previously had a meeting after GE14 and we agreed that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will act on our behalf and negotiate with any party that can enable Umno to get back into government as soon as possible,” Nazri told Malay Mail.
The former tourism minister revealed the “majority of Umno MPs” had signed a statutory declaration empowering Zahid to negotiate with other political parties outside of BN, including PH parties and PAS to once again assume federal power.
“This signing decision was before the Umno party election. We agreed that Zahid has the authority and he has been tasked with the responsibility,” he said.
“I signed the SD, and there is no time frame for Zahid to act on it, open-ended, he may negotiate on behalf of Umno.”
Since PKR is the biggest party, he added, Umno would do well to show a gesture of “goodwill” by not contesting the Port Dickson by-election.
Nazri said PKR was the party the people wanted in power as evidenced by the past three by-elections, and that he was even willing to “campaign” for Anwar as a symbol of goodwill.
“Fighting Anwar ‘to the death’ is not a form of goodwill. Even if Umno wins the seat, we will still be in the Opposition, nothing will changen,” Nazri said.
“Mat Hassan doesn’t know about the SDs, he is not an MP and wasn’t part of the discussion.”
He said the Umno deputy president’s remarks were likely personal remarks and not indicative of the party’s stand on the matter.
Nazri pointed out that even MIC and PAS have backed out from contesting.
“Umno must look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves, if even PAS is not contesting, they know what it means to show some goodwill,” he said.