WITH the political quagmire stalling the country’s response to a deadly pandemic, an Umno leader opined that a unity Government could be the only way to resolve the matter until a general election is called.
“It’s up to His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. We can a have small yet effective team to combat COVID-19 and the economic mess caused by it.
“But it must have clear terms of reference like focused on containing the pandemic and accelerate the vaccination process,” Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek told FocusM.
Since the Perikatan Nasional Government over last year, many have accused the coalition of lacking majority support at the Dewan Rakyat, including its ally Umno.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yassin received consent from the Agong to proclaim an Emergency to contain COVID-19, which is scheduled to end tomorrow.
Last week, Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan shocked MPs by saying that the Emergency and its ordinances (EO) had been revoked on July 21 itself, leading to questions whether the matter received Istana Negara’s consent.
Despite Takiyuddin’s attempt to remain coy on the matter, Istana Negara swiftly rebuked the former for attempting to mislead Dewan Rakyat, adding the monarch did not give royal assent to the revocation.
With that, Pakatan Harapan MPs and various other quarters have accused the Government of misleading the Parliament and sidestepping the Agong’s authority on the matter.
Touching on the recent turn of events, Ahmad Shabery said the situation was unprecedented as in the past, it was only about the public criticising the Government for failing the people’s aspirations.
“This is an uncommon moment where the Government is being chided by the public and Istana Negara at the same time,” noted the former minister.
On the unity Government, Ahmad Shabery said for starters, that it was important for the team to restore public confidence by dealing with the COVID-19 threat head-on.
“Priority is building confidence on our pandemic management. We need to stabilise the country, handle COVID-19 and rejuvenate the economy, all at the same time.
“And it’s important for us to put someone who is more focused on the matter at hand and not just playing politics to keep certain individuals in power,” he stated.
Queried on the apparent division in Umno between those in favour of Mahiaddin and otherwise, the former Kemaman MP has a different take on the matter.
Sharing his views on a personal basis, Ahmad Shabery said Umno leaders have taken different stand on issues depending on the situation at hand.
He added that Umno initially supported Perikatan due to its opposition to Pakatan Harapan, which held power from 2018 until early last year.
“But as Perikatan failed to address the crises the country was facing, Umno changed its stand. The Government is deemed by the rakyat to have failed them.
“As a political party, our bearings must meet the people’s aspirations. With the Agong now speaking out, Umno must act accordingly too,” Ahmad Shabery added.
With that, the senior Umno leader reminded party members that the party has always championed parliamentary democracy and upholds the sanctity of the royal institution, adding any move to undermine both institutions should not be taken lightly.
“Let’s make a stand and Umno must take lead, by upholding the Federal Constitution and our constitutional monarchy.
“However, things are very fluid now but I believe our Youth and Wanita wings have clearly stated that if it boils down to supporting the present administration or the royal institution, they will go with the latter,” he remarked.