PKR-UMNO pact: A possible alliance, or pure hogwash?

(Focus Malaysia) – News of a possible PKR-UMNO pact isn’t something new, but PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had recently sent the political pundits into a tizzy yet again when he revealed that discussions between PKR and its political nemesis, UMNO, have taken place.

At yet another hastily-convened press conference (and this is really becoming a bad habit of his), the Opposition leader acknowledged that he has met with several UMNO leaders to discuss cooperation in the next elections.

However, he also said that while talks are indeed afoot, it is still too early to decide on the possibility of political cooperation. Both parties are simply just “in the midst of initial discussions”.

But in a plot twist nobody saw coming, UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that his party will not work with PKR in the next general elections and dismissed claims that both parties have discussed such cooperation.

Yes, ouch.

In fact, he indicated that there were no deliberate discussions on the matter. Despite bumping into each other at Parliament, there were no discussions at all, formally or informally.

“Not with me, not with Mat Hassan (UMNO deputy president)” were his exact words, and he was adamant that UMNO had not authorised any representatives to hold such talks.

So here’s the question: does this mean that Anwar Ibrahim jumped the gun too soon (again)? He is, after all, quite notorious for this.

In September 2020, for instance, he announced during a press conference that he has obtained a “strong, formidable and convincing” support from members of Parliament to form a government.

He also claimed that with the support he has, this meant that the Government currently being led by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has collapsed.

But here’s the thing: Anwar Ibrahim is no greenhorn when it comes to politics. He would not have laid claim to this majority if he did not have such a majority to support his claim.

The same, I think, goes for the PKR-UMNO pact. Knowing what the repercussions would be, he wouldn’t risk his reputation for any dubious claims of a possible tie-up.

If these ‘episodes’ have taught us anything, it would be that we – the rakyat – need to always take what politicians say with a pinch of salt. I say this because politicians are notorious for sometimes speaking just for the sake of speaking, with not much thought or sense being reflected in what they say.

But I leave you with this thought: Is there a possibility that Anwar was right, that there had been talks between the two parties that even the UMNO president wasn’t aware of?

Secret meetings between politicians are nothing new in Malaysia anyway, and who’s to say for sure that the two political parties won’t see a collaboration of sorts somewhere down the road?