KEMAMAN, 11 Oct 2008: Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek today spoke against the proposal to turn the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition into a single multiracial party, saying it was tantamount to dissolving Umno which is the mainstay of the government.
He said that as an Umno member he regarded the proposal as a cruel blow to Umno, which made it seem that the party was no longer relevant in the context of the current political scenario.
“If any Umno leader were to talk of turning BN into a single multiracial party, it will be akin to dissolving Umno … and it is a humiliation for Umno. I am not prepared to accept this,” he told reporters at his open house at the Dewan Sri Amar, here.
Umno was still strong and relevant in the context of national development, he said, adding that Malaysia was the best progress story among countries in the region, thanks to the BN government helmed by Umno.
Yesterday, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon made the suggestion in his speech when launching the Gerakan Youth and Wanita national assembly.
Koh said for a start, the 13 component parties could open their membership to all races.
Ahmad Shabery said the cooperation among the BN component parties was at its best for national development.
“Should there be weaknesses (in the BN), they should be rectified but there is no necessity for a structural change,” he said.
He said the important thing was to strengthen the BN and find ways to regain the support of the people for the coalition.
“There are ups and downs in history. Today, we see a poor performance by the BN. But it does not mean that the BN has to undergo a total change. Every time there is an economic problem, political problems may ensue,” he said.
“I believe that when the world economic situation improves, the people will come back (to the BN) because there is no government better than the BN in bringing about development and giving the people the best,” he said. — Bernama