KUALA LUMPUR, 13 Oct 2008: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahamd Badawi today clarified that he never suggested that all component parties in Barisan Nasional (BN) be abolished and replaced with a single multiracial party.
Instead, the prime minister said, he had merely proposed that the BN find ways to include a group of Malaysians who wanted to participate in the coalition without joining any racial-based component party.
“I never suggested that component parties must be abolished. What I suggested was that we must also respond to the needs of certain people who want to be associated with the BN, they like to interact with the BN and feel that it truly reflects a multiracial party.
“So my response to that is to give them the opportunity to be a direct member of the BN. We create a forum, a club, a branch or whatever we want to call it, so there’ll be component parties and there’ll be this new group,” said Abdullah, who is also the BN chairman.
However, he said, he could not see the BN as a single multiracial party in the near future although there were changes happening in the party.
This was due to differences in the values of each community which demanded respect and understanding from each other, he added during a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the US-Islamic World Regional Forum.
Abdullah was responding to Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek’s statement on 11 Oct that the setting up of a single multiracial party was akin to abolishing Umno.
Explaining further, Abdullah, the Umno president, said this group of members would provide the BN with their views on various issues, as Malaysians and not based on their races.
He said that at the same time, it would provide the component parties a platform to explain to the group about their boundaries and limitations while representing the interests of each community.
“This group will also provide us new approaches, new thinking, and bring to our attention some of the multiracial concerns that we may not be aware of. So I think it’s very good,” he said. — Bernama