UMNO-PAS cooperation a stark possibility

TTF: I honestly think these guys at The Malay Mail Online (see news item below) and the ‘analysts’ they’re seeking opinions from have got it all upside down.

Electoral cooperation comes in many, many forms. For instance, if I were to help you campaign in your traditional seat without contesting the seat myself, that’s cooperation. If you were to contest my traditional seat for the sole purpose of helping me deny, say, PKR from gaining it, that’s a form of cooperation too.

Now of course, I am not inclined to use you. I would only seek your assistance if it were a foregone conclusion that you’d lose anyway if you contested against PKR for ‘my’ seat in a straight fight.

Believe me, the list just goes on and on.

So it irks me when analysts shape their opinions in ways that aren’t reflective of current political realities and sensibilities. For instance, the principal advisor of the Pacific Research Centre implied that UMNO is seeking cooperation with PAS just to split votes in its (UMNO’s) favour. That’s pure bunkum.

Obviously, the centre is not privy to sentiments abound or the reason the parties have decided to work together. Either that, or the guy who made that statement is up to no good.

GE14 is a battle between the Chinese and the Malays. In part, that is – PAS is quite done being battered and bullied by PKR and the chauvinistic and preponderant DAP, while UMNO feels the time has come for it to place religion and race above everything else.

PAS agrees.

That’s all there is to it. There are a hundred and one methods of cooperation that can be worked out where no party is victimised or used by the other. Something smells really fishy here, though I’ll choose not to speculate for the moment.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will lead a rally today against the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the third consecutive December the top leaders of Umno and PAS will appear together.

However, political analysts said that while Najib and Hadi’s joint appearances symbolise the symbiotic relationship between the Malay-Muslim parties that are otherwise traditional rivals, their alliance may not necessarily extend to electoral cooperation in the 14th general election (GE14).

“Najib-Hadi alliance has evolved but Umno would be hardpressed to share seats with PAS. Umno cannot afford to lose any seats,” independent analyst Khoo Kay Peng told Malay Mail.

Umno president Najib and PAS president Hadi appreared together in December last year at a rally in Kuala Lumpur to display solidarity with the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state amid a government crackdown against the Muslim minority there.

The year before that, also in December, both Najib and Hadi attended an event organised by alumni of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University here.

Today’s rally against US president Donald Trump’s unprecedented move to shift the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem comes a week after a protest by federal Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH) outside the American embassy here over the same issue.

Pacific Research Centre principal adviser Oh Ei Sun said that through PAS and Umno’s alliance, the former, which currently has just 14 seats in Parliament, is hoping to legitimise its own agenda, while the Malay ruling party is in turn trying to appeal to conservative Malay voters.

“So if you can’t beat PAS in a contest for conservatism and reactionism, you might as well hug your erstwhile competitor, hoping that their label would rub off on you too, and especially when they are more than willing to hug you as well,” Oh told Malay Mail.

He also said while Umno would not give up seats—especially parliamentary ones—to PAS, Umno would welcome PAS as a third party in the GE14 race against PH.

“I actually think that in many other seats, Umno actually welcome PAS participation for it would further split the already weakened Opposition or non-Umno votes, ultimately working toward Umno’s electoral advantage in a first-past-the-post electoral system,” said Oh.

Centre for Policy Initiatives director Lim Teck Ghee said today’s Umno-PAS rally was aimed at capturing the Malay-Muslim vote and to wipe out challenges from newly-formed PH parties Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

Amanah has already expressed its criticism against the rally and will be snubbing it, although it is sending a representative to join a forum on the issue prior to the rally.

“Two questions arise from this in relation to the election. First is the extent to which an increasingly astute and critical Malay electorate can be persuaded that both parties are honourable and trustworthy in advancing the Malay agenda or simply playing them out again.

“The second is the resistance BN parties will have to any electoral pact involving PAS,” Lim told Malay Mail.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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