PAS knows Bersatu’s ‘Abah’ brand can’t win Johor, says analyst

(FMT) – PAS is reaching out to cooperate with Umno in the upcoming Johor state elections as the Islamist party realises its Perikatan Nasional ally, Bersatu, is not strong enough to win the state, says an analyst.

Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said PAS also realised that it was very weak in Johor and did not want a repeat of its poor outing in the Melaka polls last November.

He said while Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, who has branded himself as ‘Abah’, was perceived as being popular and widely influential in Johor, he would not be able to compete with Umno’s influence at the grassroots level in the state.

“That’s why PAS may feel Bersatu is not enough for it to achieve the goal of winning (in the state polls), causing it to start thinking of Umno,” he said, referring to PAS’ desire to revive its Muafakat Nasional (MN) pact with Umno at the state level.

Yesterday, Johor PAS chief Abdullah Husin said the state chapter was hoping to meet its Umno counterparts to forge an understanding in facing the state polls, with the discussions to be held in the spirit of the MN alliance.

In GE14, PAS only won one state seat in Johor, namely the Bukit Pasir constituency.

While Johor Umno wants Barisan Nasional to go it alone in the state polls, party deputy president Mohamad Hasan said the Supreme Council would soon decide whether it would work with PAS in Johor.

Akademi Nusantara senior fellow (strategic research) Azmi Hassan said the Melaka polls were a manifestation of Bersatu’s inability to help PAS, or even itself, forcing the Islamist party to rethink its alliances in Johor.