PETALING JAYA: The 15th general election should be expedited to restore political stability so that the nation can get back on track to growth and prosperity, and people’s lives can improve, said Umno Supreme Council member Johari Ghani.
Taking a statesman-like stance, Johari said political stability was more important than the question of who would be victorious in the next general election (GE15).
“Even though the government today is led by Umno leaders, we still depend on the support of the opposition. This government has no legitimacy. Umno-BN only has 42 parliamentary seats – the rest are dominated by the opposition,” Johari told Mingguan Malaysia in an interview.
Due to the resultant instability, many policies could not be implemented as each opposition party had its own ideology. Also, Malaysia was losing out in both local and foreign investments due to this instability.
Although Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been prime minister since last August, his Cabinet line-up includes leaders from other parties such as PAS and Bersatu who opposed Umno in the recent Melaka and Johor elections.
In addition, Johari pointed out, Ismail also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakatan Harapan (PH), and he was now bound by the opposition coalition’s various demands.
This must change and that was why, Johari said, GE15 should be held sooner rather than later.
Asked whether he was not concerned that the opposition rather than Barisan Nasional might win in GE15, Johari answered calmly in a manner that may not go down too well with some Umno members but which would be welcomed wholeheartedly by ordinary Malaysians.
“What we are looking for is stability for the nation. It doesn’t matter whether BN or the opposition wins. What we need most is for the winner to create a politically stable environment for the good of the rakyat.”
However, Johari, a former second finance minister, was confident the people would recognise BN’s record in ensuring political stability and national development compared to the rule of PH and Perikatan Nasional.
“When the (PH) opposition coalition won the last general election, it failed to provide the same political stability that Barisan Nasional ensured for 61 years and which had an impact on the nation’s economic growth. This is because the political ideology of the component parties is very different and they quarrelled with each other,” said Johari.
Political instability was also caused by politicians who switched sides and that is why special laws had to be enacted to curb the practice, he said.
“Umno-BN has also been affected by this ‘hopping’ culture. Many of the MPs who won under a BN ticket also jumped over to opposition parties. With the anti-hopping law to be introduced in Parliament later, it will give a clear signal to prospective MPs in GE15. They can no longer indulge in such practice,” said Johari.
Regarding the Umno general assembly which ended yesterday, Johari urged all leaders to unite and work towards Umno’s victory in GE15. Umno yesterday decided to hold its party elections six months after GE15.
“After GE15, we can hold elections within the party. Whoever wins the election can be given a chance to hold the highest office in the party. This is so that the party’s journey is in line with government policies.
“Otherwise, it will only invite uncertainty like at present where the prime minister does not have the absolute support of MPs,” added Johari.
Johari said the sentiment of the delegates at the assembly was very clear. The reason they wanted an early GE15 was precisely because they felt political stability was crucial for efforts to rebuild the nation. They could see that Malaysia was lagging far behind its neighbours.