With MCA backing Bersatu, could Umno turn to DAP?

MCA’s decision to side with Bersatu, by backing the current government, will lead to a parting of ways between the party and its longtime partner Umno, according to a political scientist.

(FMT) – Wong Chin Huat said the Umno-MCA alliance had been “approaching death” after the 2018 general election, when Barisan Nasional (BN) lost power.

He said MCA’s decision to side with Bersatu over Umno would only see the end “come earlier and officially”.

MCA president Wee Ka Siong was among a group of MPs from BN, said to be 31 in number, who had declared support for the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional government, headed by Muhyiddin Yassin.

The declaration of support came in the wake of Umno’s decision last week to withdraw support for Muhyiddin and the PN government.

Wee said MCA would stick by a BN decision last year to support the PN government.

Wong said MCA’s continuous decline among the Chinese community since 2008 had made the party increasingly irrelevant for Umno, while at the same time, MCA had become more dependent on Umno.

On the other hand, he said, BN had effectively been reduced to Umno especially in West Malaysia, after the 2018 general election.

He said Umno would claim many mixed seats from MCA at the next polls to increase its own seats.

Further, he said, even an alliance between Umno and DAP might be likely after GE15, as Umno recognised DAP’s dominance among non-Malay voters.

“If the number of seats are right, and the deal of power-sharing is right, Umno will work with DAP or the entire Pakatan Harapan after GE15. That’s clear for Umno leaders from the national to divisional levels,” he said.

In March, FMT reported that PH leaders had thrown their support behind a possible decision to work with Umno before and after the next general election, saying party members were “pushing” them to do so.

However, MCA stalwart Yap Pian Hon, who had previously said the party had no choice but to continue supporting the government, said he doubts whether Umno would call it quits on the relationship.

No party could survive on the support of one community, he said, and this goes both ways, although working with MCA would be easier for Umno, compared to DAP.

Yap said Umno had, for the longest time, branded DAP as being anti-Malay. “It won’t be easy to reverse this mindset. It is easier to work with MCA. We worked as a team for the past 60 years.”

The bigger question, he said, is how the community will vote in the next election, adding that “some will not even bother”.