Umno must work to address confusion among its grassroots over its cooperation with the opposition, which seems to run counter to the “no Anwar, no DAP” policy adopted at its general assembly, a Supreme Council member said.
Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said said it was easy for MPs to deal with opposition counterparts but the rationale must now be clearly communicated to supporters on the ground.
“The confusion would be more for the divisions who are aware of the ‘No Anwar, no DAP’ stand, but now suddenly there is a flip side to it,”
Azalina, who recently quit as deputy speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, said the party’s decision to cooperate with the opposition did not have much of an impact for MPs because they regularly met with their opposition counterparts in Parliament.
She said it was also not uncommon in certain legislative assemblies.
“Johor and Perak, which are run by Umno, are quite comfortable with that relationship.
“Maybe it’s the fact that in Perak, there are a lot of DAP representatives, so whether you like it or not, they have always been there in huge numbers.
“Also in Johor, in the sense that there is a very open-minded setup for the state assembly and the menteri besar, so it’s been there, it’s not like this is the first time,” she said.
Azalina said this sort of bipartisanship was necessary if true reforms were to be achieved, such as enacting a Parliamentary Service Act, instituting term limits or elevating the opposition leader to a minister-level post.
“One of the most crucial things we must do as Malaysians and as MPs in 2021 is we have to walk the walk. If we say ceasefire, it must be a fair ceasefire for all.
“Let’s look into proper reforms, and take this opportunity to amend laws, not just reform through lip service,” she said.
The kind of cooperation now seen and the recent political turmoil typifies what she called one of the big takeaways from the last year: “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies in politics. Today you’re friends, tomorrow you’re enemies,” she said.