Umno could still return to strengthen Muafakat Nasional

KHAIRIL ANWAR MOHD AMIN
KHAIRIL ANWAR MOHD AMIN
21 May 2023 06:05pm
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang after signing the MN charter at te Ummah unity meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Sept 14, 2019. (Smaller Image from the left, Pas Central Assabiqun Assembly chairman Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed, Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar)
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang after signing the MN charter at te Ummah unity meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Sept 14, 2019. (Smaller Image from the left, Pas Central Assabiqun Assembly chairman Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed, Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar)
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SHAH ALAM - The doors are still open for Umno to return and strengthen the political cooperation with Pas under Muafakat Nasional (MN) despite being in the Unity Government.

Pas leader Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed said that despite being repeatedly disappointed by Umno, Pas still has a glimmer of hope that Umno and BN will once again cooperate for the unification of the ummah.

He said the possibility for Umno to consider cooperation with MN after the state election is not impossible, as he believes that PN will garner and dominate Malay voters’ support.

He also rubbished claims that Pas had turned its back on Umno when it established cooperation with Bersatu and officially joined the PN.

Both parties were aware of Pas’s desire to unite the Malay parties in this country since the formation of MN.

"Until now, no party from either Umno or Pas has officially announced the dissolution of MN, and I see it as a positive development indicating the spirit of establishing MN by the two main Malay parties is likely to still be successful.

"With Pas still playing a role in pushing the unification of the ummah agenda, we can’t rule out any possibility that Umno wants to come back and strengthen MN.

"The unification of the Ummah agenda is important for Pas for the sake of the party’s political interests, and for that reason, I believe there’s no problem for Pas to reach out to Umno and return to MN if they sincerely wanted it," he told Sinar Premium.

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He said such when commenting on Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan’s statement regarding the failure of the previous ties between Umno and Pas, which should be used as a lesson to prevent it from happening again.

It was an off-and-on relationship between Umno and Pas leaders following Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang’s statement that the party is not a temporary shelter for any party to be used for their political gain.

This followed DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang’s statement, in which Pas offered to join the unity government as a solution to maintaining racial harmony in the country following the party's being accused of playing on racial and religious sentiments to gain the support of Malay voters in the 15th general election (GE15).

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi also criticised Pas, stating that the party often looked for opportunities to ‘stay’ in another individual’s home.

Commenting further, the Central Pas Committee member saw that the projected results of the state election are expected to further strengthen PN’s position, which will increase the belief that Umno may need additional options to ensure their political stability.

"Based on the GE15 analysis and the performance of the Eid Open House organised by the prime minister in six states, Pas is confident that PN’s chances to maintain their administration in Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu are brighter, and there is even a possibility that we can control Selangor.

"Based on that factor, we can’t rule out the possibility that Umno wants to return and strengthen MN if the cooperation at the unity government level fails in the state elections.

"For the political power of Malay-Muslims to remain superior, like it or not, the government must be dominated by the party with Muslim MPs.

Meanwhile, Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar said that if the state elections result were to coincide with GE15, which was not in favour of Umno-BN, it does not rule out the possibility that some BN leadership will re-evaluate the option of preserving MN’s interests.

He viewed the strategy of re-strengthening MN as a ‘Plan B’ by the Umno leadership if the unity formula in the government is not properly translated at the grassroot levels post-state elections.

"In the context of the state election, the reality is that Umno-BN are under serious pressure to prove their worth in the unity government compared to other parties, including PH.

"This was because they must overturn the GE15 results and prove the Malay voters’ rejection of Umno-BN can be reserved "If the state election results were parallel with GE15, that may signal to the BN leadership that they must reassess the importance of preserving MN if the unity government doesn’t work out," he said.

Hisommuddin also revealed that the Ilham Centre’s field studies regarding the transfer of support between BN supporters and PH supporters and vice versa within five months of the unity government’s formation showed no positive improvement.

He explained the main factor in the issue was due to the BN grassroots not being given an explanation of the relevance of BN supporting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and their former arch-enemy DAP in forming the unity government.

"This situation will place pressure on the current BN leadership to reassess the party’s relationship with the unity government.

"With PH expected to gauge whether Umno-BN’s presence adds value to the unity government coalition, BN will have to make drastic decisions on their direction after the state elections, whether it’s worth staying or opting for healthier options," he added.

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