Analysts: Umno’s clear rejection of Bersatu has shot to pieces Perikatan’s long-term viability

The real threat to PAS is Umno, no doubt. Strategically, it is more prudent for PAS to negotiate seat allocations with Umno rather than going against Umno.

(MMO) – Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) long-term viability as a political coalition is in tatters as its ally Umno openly rejects cooperating with Bersatu in any shape or form for the upcoming general elections, according to political observers.

In yet another blow to the Malay parties’ tumultuous relationship, an overwhelming majority of Umno divisional leaders declared over the weekend that they shun any further cooperation with Bersatu and instead prefer to strengthen their alliance with PAS under Muafakat Nasional (MN).

KSI Strategic Institute economic adviser and independent political analyst Prof Hoo Ke Ping said PN now simply cannot survive without the cooperation of Umno as the latter still commands a formidable party machinery and well-established grassroots.

Hoo further explained that Umno knows that its tie-up with PAS under Muafakat Nasional (MN) alone could win a large share of the 128 Malay-majority seats up for grabs in the peninsula.

“That is why Umno is adamant about preserving and strengthening its relationship with PAS under MN instead of working with PN. Mathematically, it makes more sense regardless of the political machinations that happen,” he said.

Hoo also explained that Umno is keen to push Barisan Nasional (BN) forward as it does not wish to sideline Chinese and Indian support.

“At this stage, Umno leaders would not want to risk sidelining non-Malay voters. Their dynamic has changed since PH took over and lost, if past by-elections, such as Tanjung Piai, are anything to go by. We saw close to 30 per cent of Chinese voters returning to BN then and there,” he said.

The Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat returned to BN’s fold in the November 2019 by-election in a result most political pundits saw coming, with the former ruling coalition securing up to 75 per cent of votes, including from several Chinese-majority voting streams.

In the final tally, BN’s candidate Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng from MCA received 25,466 votes to bag a majority of 15,086 over PH’s Karmaine Sardini from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, who received 10,380 votes, confirming pundits’ forecast.

“There is a major push and consideration for MCA and MIC to contest various seats in the coming elections, and these two parties could wrestle 10 seats away easily if the election strategy is sound,” he said.

“So you can see why PN is not a viable choice for Umno; even PAS would consider Umno to be a better option compared to Bersatu,’’ added Hoo.

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