Umno-PAS collaboration can be a boon to both parties, say political analysts


(Bernama) – A political collaboration between the two largest Malay parties, Umno and PAS is possible, but may take some time to materialise, says a local political analyst.

Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain, a senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is confident that the political collaboration would materialise some day, even if Umno and PAS, at this point, had yet to find common ground on the matter.

“It is easier for Umno and PAS to cooperate in other fields before forging a political collaboration. The general election is still far… a lot of things can happen. A political collaboration can be formed in just a couple of months.

“I believe and am confident that as we move towards the 14th general election, there will be a political collaboration (between PAS and Umno), but in what form? That will depend on the circumstances at the time.

“Perhaps they can just emulate the Umno-PAS mixed government of 1974-1977?” he told Bernama when contacted.

PAS is scheduled to hold a special briefing on Saturday to explain the issue of its collaboration with Umno to party leaders following the recent resolution made by the PAS Syura Council.

The issue of a political collaboration between PAS and Umno became a hot topic of discussions after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his policy speech at the Umno General Assembly in early December last year, extended an olive branch to PAS, to jointly build and develop the country according to the principles of Islam.

Najib repeated his aspiration to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang when both of them shared the stage at the Regional Al-Azhar Alumni Conference at end of the month.

Prior to this, several observers opined that Umno’s preparedness to collaborate with PAS would primarily be in social issues, including threats posed by the so-called IS militants, issue of the lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), the sovereignty of the rulers, and the position of Islam.

Dr Ahmad Atory said collaboration between the two parties should be viewed from a broader perspective and not purely in a political aspect.

This is because there are still many areas that can be explored together by both parties, despite their different political beliefs, he said.

Both Umno and PAS, he said, would benefit from the collaboration, especially in terms of strengthening their respective parties.

Another political analyst, Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Samsul Adabi Mamat believes that the development involving Umno and PAS proved that the national political landscape had become more open.

He said the political cooperation between the two parties, if materialised, would strengthen the position of both parties as a political entities in the country.

“Both parties are still strong and powerful, have a huge number of members and supporters, as well as struggle philosophies which are still relevant.  However, the collaboration needs to be further defined.

“For example, in the state of Selangor, will Umno not contest the seats won by PAS? Or will they form a mixed federal government? All these questions need to be clarified,” said the political science lecturer at the School of History, Politics and Strategy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

Umno veteran Tan Sri Mohamad Aziz believes that the cooperation between Umno and PAS, if it truly comes to fruition, would be welcomed the grassroots in Umno.

He hoped that PAS would not play hard to get and consider the benefits to the Malays and Islam in the country if an understanding between the two parties was established.

“Malay unity is definitely the main aspiration of the Malays, we will accept whatever is decided by the party leadership because we know the intentions are good, why would we want to protest,” he said.

He said policies and struggles of Umno and PAS were not too far apart, as both parties were equally supportive of an Islamic cause.