Malaysia PM Ismail said not appropriate to hold general election in near future: Senior Umno official

Umno would discuss with Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on an appropriate time for the next general election. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEREMBAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has informed the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) that it is not proper to hold a general election in the near future, said Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan.

He said Umno would discuss with the prime minister on an appropriate time for the next general election.

"Only the PM can advise the King to dissolve Parliament. So if the PM says now is not a good time for national polls, we have to accept it. Now is the time for us to work on reviving the economy and overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic," Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said after opening the Rembau Umno annual general meeting on Sunday (Dec 12).

When asked about calls by some Umno divisions to hold party elections before the general election, Mr Mohamad said its supreme council, which met on Wednesday (Dec 8), had decided that its top five leaders will decide what is best for the party.

"The top five, which also includes the Prime Minister, will decide what is best for the party and once this is done, we hope all members will accept it. After all, the party election must be held before December next year," he said.

Asked if there was any proposal that the top five positions in the party polls would not be contested, Mr Mohamad said there wasn't.

"Umno is a democratic party. Anyone who is eligible can contest," he added.

Mr Mohamad also told reporters that Umno had never issued any directive to its state liaison committees to stop political cooperation with Parti Islam Se-Malaysia(PAS).

The Umno deputy president said although there had been debate on social media about this after the Melaka state election, the state Umno liaison committees were free to continue collaborating with PAS.

"The party leadership has not issued any such directive on this. As long as we can add value to a relationship, I don't see why it has to be stopped," he

Mr Mohamad said Umno remained committed to the Muafakat Nasional charter signed with PAS last September to strengthen Malay unity although the Islamist party had contested under the Perikatan Nasional ticket in the recent Melaka state election.

"Muafakat is not a registered political party but an understanding between both parties. It is merely a platform to strengthen cooperation between Umno and PAS," he said, adding that certain quarters had failed to understand this.

PAS and Umno signed the Muafakat charter on Sept 14 last year which among others, is an agreement to cooperate in the development of the Islamic and Malay narrative without denying the diversity of religion, race and culture as central to the political stability, racial harmony and peace of the country.

However, relations between both parties have been rocky after the Islamist party joined the Perikatan Nasional pact led by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia despite being in Muafakat.

On Sunday, PAS party's spiritual leader Hashim Jasin said it has not made any decision yet regarding its cooperation with Umno under the pact.

He added that the party insisted that its position in the pact remained intact even though some top PAS leaders claimed that Umno had failed to abide by the charter they had previously agreed upon.

Mr Hashim reportedly said that the Islamist party remained committed to continuing to strengthen the pact while supporting Perikatan Nasional, of which Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is also a member.

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