KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional (BN) will be restructured and rebranded to strengthen it in efforts to retake the Federal Government in the next general election.
Its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the coalition of opposition parties would include BN’s five core parties, bloc partners and NGOs.
He said the coalition’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has been given the mandate to carry out the implementation of this new movement soon.
“We have to begin moving to become a new entity not only as an opposition but also to set in motion a two-party system, in order to compete with Pakatan Harapan in shaping the government,” he said during a presser after officiating MIC’s 72nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at PWTC here today.
Zahid also said he would be meeting with BN party presidents to discuss how to realise these plans.
“We feel what we do together with friends from other political parties in the formation of an opposition coalition as a basis for us to move to a two-party system.
“I hope the people will be with us because we promise something new as the new government cannot carry out what they have promised,” he said.
Zahid further said that the new entity would provide a check and balance and an alternative to Pakatan Harapan.
Earlier, Zahid said he was in the midst of negotiating with ten parties who were interested in joining the bloc.
“I am giving the mandate to chief (MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran) to negotiate with entities and NGOs who want to join us,” he added.
Meanwhile, at the AGM, Zahid also somewhat alluded that the BN-PAS partnership was not going away anytime soon.
“We will uphold Pas as our new political partner,” he said at the meeting in the midst of four representatives who attended the meeting, including its vice-president Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad and its secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.
On whether Pas would be part of this new Barisan Nasional coalition, Zahid was however evasive, asking reporters to refer to Nazri instead, and in direct membership, he said the matter had to be discussed with all coalition partners.
Meanwhile, Zahid called on MIC to be inspired by other political parties that made a comeback, after suffering shocking losses.
Vigneswaran earlier said that when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad retires, Barisan Nasional would return to the government.
“All we want is guidance from Umno. We will do our own work, registration of voters and such.”
“We will not be a burden to Umno, but strength to BN,” he said, while referring the thrashing that MIC received at the polls that left it with only two Member of Parliaments.
“It’s better to work with Pas then with Dr Mahathir. If (they) can work with Amanah (Parti Amanah Negara) we can work with Pas. The two are fundamentally similar,” he added.
Also present at the AGM was the party’s former president Tun S. Samy Vellu.