PAS tries to be peacemaker between Umno and Bersatu

Umno and PAS flags are pictured at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Umno and PAS flags are pictured at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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COMMENTARY, Feb 24 — PAS is on a mission that will determine whether the next general election will see Malay parties dominate the country’s political landscape or become fragmented.

With its Perikatan Nasional (PN) partner, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), seen as a big brother while its partner in Muafakat Nasional (MN), Umno, is playing the victim, the Islamist party is trying to be the mediator.

Gluing the three Malay-based parties together will end all uncertainties in the country’s political equation, bring confidence to investors, and allow the country to move on.

While PAS is the party with the least seats of the three, it is a bridge between Umno and Bersatu.

It is a hard role to play as Bersatu and Umno have leaders with big egos and confidence of doing well in the general election.

PAS must convince them that the reality is that their Malay power base is not united.

PAS is the second oldest party in the country after Umno. It is a splinter party that has never been dominant but it has its place.

Right now its role is to make sure Bersatu and Umno stick together to achieve the final mission – Malay dominance – as this is the only chance, without which there will be no opportunity in the future.

PAS leaders have been assumed to be greedy and taking advantage of the animosity between Bersatu and Umno. The party is seen as ignoring Muafakat Nasional and favouring Perikatan Nasional for power and position.

The Islamist party’s leaders seem to have abandoned MN as it focuses more on PN, leaving Umno waiting for to learn if PAS was with it or not.

This is like a husband with two wives. The first wife is shouting about being victimised by the husband who favours the second wife, yet the first wife does not demand for a divorce.

Umno — out of fear of losing its partner — has not made any decision to dissolve MN despite some leaders making calls for PAS to stand its stand.

And Umno, in a larger perspective of Barisan Nasional (BN), has not even decided whether to go totally alone in the next general election.

The fact is PAS leaders have been pounding into the minds of Umno leaders there would not be a second chance to return to power unless they tame their egos and negotiate.

Given the scenario, Umno seems to be under tremendous pressure to accommodate and play along. But this only works if president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi makes way for a change in party leadership.

Whether he is the actual stumbling block or not, a leadership change will make the oldest Malay-based see the light.

Until then, uncertainty remains as the Islamist party races against time to unite the Malay parties.

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