PHUKET: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the proposal to turn Barisan Nasional into a single party is rational and needs to be studied in detail to ensure its continuous support from the people.
He said the 13-party coalition should look at the existing Barisan structure to see if the time had come for the formation of a single party.
“This means that each component party must self-evaluate and consider whether it is time to merge and if they agree, what is the best way to do so,” he told reporters during his working visit to Phuket.
Muhyiddin was commenting on Gerakan acting president Datuk Chang Ko Youn's call for Barisan to be turned into a single party to win back the people's support and avoid racial problems.
The Deputy Prime Minister suggested that a “political laboratory” be set up to come up with ideas on the new format for Barisan, where even non-members of component parties, who were concerned about the future of the nation, could give their input.
He said although there would be some who would disagree, it was important for all members of the parties to look ahead.
“Personally, I find the proposal rather a massive one but I also feel it is important because I don't know whether we can sustain this situation for the next five years.
“So the question must be answered immediately and if it is deemed necessary, what is the best way to implement it,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the issue should be considered within the next few months and if a merger into a single party was agreed upon, a convention could be called for Barisan leaders to determine the future direction and survival of the party.
He said among the matters which he had discussed with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also Barisan chairman, was a review of the coalition's structure and how to make it more progressive.
He said his proposals for the changes took into consideration the changes in the mindsets of the people and the expectations of the younger generation of voters.
On the post-mortem of Barisan's performance at the 13th general election, he said it was expected to be completed in July.
A panel, which includes non-members of coalition parties, is currently conducting the exercise.
“We want an analysis which is accurate. We want to know the real reasons behind us winning or losing certain seats,” he said.
Muhyiddin said outsiders were also appointed to the body conducting the post-mortem to provide an independent and comprehensive analysis.
Reports by RAZAK AHMAD, WONG PEK MEI, FLORENCE A. SAMY, TASHNY SUKUMARAN, SIMREN KAUR and HAFIZ MARZUKHI
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