UMNO must address dissent among some Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders before situation fractures the coalition further, said political analyst Mujibu Abdul Muis.
“This must be dealt with as soon as possible. I see this (dissent of MCA and MIC) will cast doubts on BN as a coalition (and) even in the context of the unity government that should be conducive and open for consultation.
“BN chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has the crucial task of balancing the needs of cooperation with PH and keeping the component parties content,” said the fellow at the Institution of Malay Rulers Chair, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UTM).
He said Zahid had to make sure that MCA and MIC toe the line, as well as proving to supporters that the collaboration with Pakatan Harapan (PH) was a fruitful one with the state elections looming.
Mujibu said offering positions in the government and government-linked companies (GLCs) was a “quick remedy” to appease parties that had to make sacrifices, such as having to give up seats they traditionally contested in elections.
“The coming state elections are critical, as not only do they gauge public confidence in the unity government’s longevity, but to also kill the momentum that Perikatan Nasional (PN) has since the general election.
“MCA and MIC should also understand that Umno had to sacrifice some things in order to work well in the unity government.”
He said the focus of PH-BN now was on winning the state elections and realistically speaking, DAP would have better chances of winning non-Malay seats than MCA and MIC.
Both BN parties might not have as solid grassroot support as DAP, Mujibu said.
Several MCA leaders had expressed their dissatisfaction over DAP senior member Tony Pua’s scathing remark on BN leaders while delivering a speech at a programme in Petaling Jaya.
Following this, MCA and MIC announced that they would sit out the state elections, while Zahid has given assurance that the component parties would remain loyal with BN despite receiving an offer of seats from PN.
It is understood that MCA and MIC leaders were absent from the Unity Government Leadership Consultative Council meeting held at Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre on Tuesday.
Geostrategist Dr Azmi Hassan said Umno must resolve any problems it had with MCA and MIC.
He said the “quid pro quo” solution might not work as some BN leaders were known to have shown support to PN in the last general election.
“MCA and MIC understand that they need BN. Let’s say they go towards PN, it will not work well for them.
“Yes, they will have seats, but it will not mean anything to them. Like how Gerakan (a former BN component party) is right now (after joining PN),” said the senior fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research.
If PH-BN wins big, it would mean the cooperation between Umno and DAP works, in which case MCA and MIC will be deemed as irrelevant, he said.