PETALING JAYA: Bersatu and PAS should have been thankful that Umno was willing to allow them to contest in four state seats in the coming Melaka state election, according to former Umno Supreme Council member Nazri Aziz.
He said he was informed that, in preliminary discussions between Umno, PAS and Bersatu, the two Perikatan Nasional (PN) component parties had disagreed with his party’s proposal that they contest four state seats.
Nazri, a former Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general, said Bersatu and PAS cannot blame Umno if his party decides to go solo, adding that the offer extended to them was “fair” and “considerate”.
“I was made to understand that Umno was willing to hand over two seats to Bersatu and two more to PAS, but Bersatu turned it down because they wanted more.
“Since both parties are weak in Melaka, with Bersatu having nearly no grassroots in the state, they should have been grateful that Umno was still willing to give them four seats to avoid any three-cornered fights.
“Both these parties also need to face the reality that any cooperation in the Melaka polls must be geared toward making Umno the head of the state government again,” he told Sinar Harian.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had recently reiterated that his party would not cooperate with Bersatu in the state polls, confident that BN would be able to record a win on Nov 20.
However, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said his party could not wait too long for “our colleagues on the other side” to decide on whether to work together or not, just to avoid any clashes in Melaka.
Muhyiddin, who is PN chairman, had announced that the coalition will contest all 28 seats in the state, setting up possible head-on clashes between PN and BN.
Despite the strained relationship between the three Malay-Muslim parties currently, Nazri was still holding out hope that they would be able to come to a consensus for the Melaka polls.
“Because without cooperation between these Malay parties to avoid three-cornered, or more, clashes, it will be very challenging to maintain the current government in Melaka.”
Sinar Harian also quoted Umno sources as saying PAS had demanded five seats while Bersatu wanted to contest in eight state constituencies.