PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's largest party Umno said on Sunday (Jan 3) it would at the next polls field candidates in all parliamentary and state seats it won at the 2018 general election, marking its territory ahead of any seat negotiations with its allies in the Perikatan Nasional ruling coalition.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that the party's top leadership - the supreme council - had decided that it will field Umno candidates and reclaim all of those seats at the 15th general election.
"Those are Umno's seats, and we will reclaim it," he said in his speech at the Bagan Datoh division meeting on Sunday.
Umno won 55 parliamentary seats in 2018, representing nearly a quarter of the 222 parliamentary wards. After defections, it now has 38 lawmakers.
Zahid also said that the supreme councils of both Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), the coalition led by Umno, unanimously decided to contest under the BN banner.
"We will not use any other logos. It is up to the other parties if they want to use their own logo or use their new partners' logos," he said.
The 15th general election is not due to be called until 2023, but Umno has said snap polls should be held as the PN government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin holds a slim majority in Parliament.
The PN pact mainly comprises Tan Sri Muhyiddin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Umno, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak.
Several by-elections have been postponed due to the fresh wave of coronavirus infections in the country.
On Sunday, Zahid said a snap election could be held despite the pandemic.
"We understand that we do not want Covid-19 to spread, but we can still follow the standard operating procedures. Why must we be afraid to hold a general election during a pandemic? More than 30 countries have held general elections while the Covid-19 pandemic has hit those countries. Why is Malaysia the only country afraid of this?" he said.
The former deputy prime minister said although Umno is represented by 11 full ministers and several deputy ministers in the PN government, it was not a dominant party in the administration.
"Umno's sincerity and honesty is only considered as complementary. A complement to the current government and administration, " he said.
"Umno was told to be thankful and grateful, but the question is the support from Umno and Barisan's 43 lawmakers to form the government, which should only be seen as complementary. Who really should be thankful here?" asked Zahid.
He reiterated that support for the current government is only from Umno and BN lawmakers and it did not mean he wanted to join PN.
"The Perikatan presidential council was formed to outline the government's policies based on the perspective of each party. The council is also formed as a check and balance to the policies of the government of the day. It does not translate that we support the formation or the registration of Perikatan," he said.
He added however that Umno remains committed to Muafakat Nasional, the pact it formed with Islamist party PAS.