April 15, 2021

Azmin’s meeting with Umno MPs: What’s the prawn behind the stone?

2 min read

THERE is a Malay expression, drummed into all Malaysian children: “udang di sebalik batu”, which asks about whether there is a hidden agenda.

Pakatan Harapan is a coalition built on with several promises, including its election manifesto, agreements on the basic philosophy of Pakatan governance, the power transition, and most important of all, the promise not to work with PAS or Umno.

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, deputy president of Pakatan component party PKR, may not be aligned with his party president, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, or even the party itself. That is his business.

But when Azmin met with 27 Umno MPs, with the justification that it was to get feedback on the Pakatan government’s performance, then he is trudging into the territory of the Prime Minister himself.

Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he does not know what transpired during the meeting.

The whole fiasco rankles of conceit, if not sheer deceit. The Economic Affairs Minister should deliver on jobs, improved income, and foreign direct investments. So many jobs are being lost to automation. Much of the Malaysian economy is based on menial labour, which is why we have six to seven million foreign workers.

The Malaysian economy’s entire business model, for the lack of a better word, is in peril.

Yet the minister in charge of all this is working in cahoots with Umno, a party that allegedly specialised in hiving off state assets and hiding them in offshore banking centres during the tenure of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Many questions are being asked about this meeting with Umno MPs. Azmin has to come clean, especially since he has not been attending his own party’s meetings.

Either he explains himself to his own party, or to Malaysians at large – beyond the perfunctory crisp statement that “nothing of substance” was discussed. It is for Malaysians to know, and not for him to decide, what is important or not.

Transparency and accountability are two of the key planks of the new Malaysian government.

The recent Tanjung Piai by-election is a fierce example of how the “tsunami” that brought Pakatan to power can reverse its momentum to unseat every elected Malaysian leader too.

The Malaysian people have spoken loud and clear what they feel through their votes, albeit within the confines of Tanjung Piai.

Isn’t that an early warning signal for Pakatan? If this is not, I don’t know what would be.

The writer is a strategist with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia; his views are his own.

Related stories:

S’wak PKR leaders, division chiefs arrive in KL for a ‘revolt’

Meeting with Azmin was to gauge support for PM and settle allocations

We just talked about parliamentary issues, says MPs

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