If Umno and PPBM collide, which way will PAS go?

(FMT) – A political analyst says that PAS will face a dilemma if the quarrels between Umno and PPBM worsen, especially before the next general election.

Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia said PAS needs to be friendly with the two Malay parties as it knows it cannot form the government on its own.

However, if the disagreements between Umno and PPBM continue, PAS will have to make a choice between Umno, which has strong grassroots support, or PPBM, which has a popular prime minister.

“Umno has the strength and PPBM has the power. Without PAS, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government would not exist, but how will this translate in the next general election?”

If the Islamic party had to choose, Azizuddin said at the grassroots level, PAS would be stronger with Umno, as its support among the Malay grassroots is stronger than PPBM.

“If they collide with each other (Umno and PPBM), it will affect the general election.”

However, Azizuddin said PPBM cannot be set aside so easily. “Muhyiddin Yassin (PPBM president) as the prime minister is a popular choice among the people compared to Umno leaders.”

Caught between Muafakat and Perikatan

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang previously said PAS could not part ways with either party, noting its alliance with Umno through Muafakat Nasional (MN) and with PPBM through PN.

Umno had previously announced it would not join PN but would continue to support the coalition to form the federal government as well as several state administrations.

Although some Umno leaders have welcomed PPBM’s participation in MN, deputy president Mohamad Hasan said the Malay party’s grassroots were against the idea.

Azizuddin also said PAS’ decision to stay with MN and at the same time work with PN would confuse the people. “PAS is in all corners as long as it has power and political importance. Of course, this is an advantage to PAS, but it will cause the voters discomfort.”

He also wants to see how PAS would resolve the issue of which logo to use during GE15.

“If Umno wants to contest under Barisan Nasional (BN) and does not want to contest under PN, then what is the PAS decision? Will it say that it will contest using the BN emblem, or they will contest using the PAS emblem?”

Better for PAS to be king than kingmaker

Political observer Mohd Sayuti Omar said PAS would be in a better position if it was stronger and not just a “kingmaker” for Umno and PPBM.

“PAS will ally itself with whoever it can benefit from. In today’s context, it is with PPBM because Muhyiddin is the prime minister, but if Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Umno president) becomes prime minister tomorrow, PAS will be with Umno,” he said.

With a long history of 69 years, Sayuti said PAS is a major political party and is accepted by the Malays.

“PAS should show its principles. It can support any party and also strengthen its own position. PAS should be the king, not just the kingmaker.”

Last month, Hadi announced that PAS was ready to contest in the Sabah state election using BN’s logo, stating the decision was not new to PAS as it had contested under the BN logo in 1974 when it was part of the BN coalition.

BN secretary-general Annuar Musa had said all its candidates contesting in the Sabah poll would use the “dacing” (weighing scales) logo given that Sabah voters were familiar with it.