PETALING JAYA: A Bersatu leader claims Umno’s decision to withdraw support for the prime minister has left him “relieved” and “grateful” although several of his colleagues have condemned the move.
“The people now know who in Umno are worthy to be called leaders and who are interested only in self-preservation,” said Redzuan Yusof, a Bersatu Supreme Council member.
“I’m grateful because I’m relieved.”
Redzuan, who is a special functions minister, also said he was confident the vast majority of Barisan Nasional MPs would “do the right thing” and continue to support Muhyiddin Yassin.
He told FMT he believed Umno’s decision was pushed by individuals with vested interests and was designed to push the party’s MPs “into a corner”.
“But I know the BN MPs well and I hope they will listen to their conscience and avoid triggering a political crisis despite the pressure to toe the party line.
“They will do the right thing and support the government so that it can continue to tackle the Covid-19 crisis and get the economy back on track.”
Redzuan also said Muhyiddin’s decision to promote Umno’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Hishammuddin Hussein as deputy prime minister and senior minister, respectively, was a “political masterstroke” and a step in the right direction.
“In one move, he defined the leaders in Umno. He separated the boys from the men. Essentially, he defined who in Umno are capable of leading the party and playing a much larger role in government.”
He said there was now chance that the government would gain the backing of MPs who had previously refused to be associated with Umno leaders facing trial.
These included those aligned to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Sabah-based Warisan.
“They could come to support the government because I believe everyone wants to focus on Covid-19 and the economy.”
Redzuan also said some Umno grassroots leaders had told him they saw the party undergoing a transformation to end its warlord culture.
“This is why, I was told, many were looking forward to the Umno elections, but it has been postponed because of Covid-19.”
He said he did not hate Umno and wanted nothing more than for Perikatan Nasional to work with the party’s many “untainted leaders” for the sake of the nation.
Asked whether he agreed with critics that the government had failed to handle the Covid-19 crisis, he said he did not although he believed there was room for improvement.
“What the government is facing today is unprecedented. Many governments around the world are facing similar challenges.
“Covid-19 today is not the same as last year. The virus is mutating and there are variants of concern.
“The fact remains that the government has allocated a huge amount of resources to fight Covid-19 and support the people and businesses and trying to strike a balance between lives and livelihoods.”
Redzuan said he believed much of the anti-government sentiment on the ground was “manufactured” and the result of manipulation.
He said the government was constantly looking at ways to adapt and adopt different approaches to deal with the ever-evolving situation.
“I think we also have to realise that success must be measured by how we strike that balance between health and the economy rather than only by the number of cases recorded,” he said.
By : Robin Augustin – FMT