Monday, January 18, 2021

‘Kingmaker’ PAS won’t follow ‘polygamous’ Umno out of PN, says analyst

With 18 MPs, PAS would be in the position to choose between Umno and Bersatu in the event of a general election.

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PAS will not follow Umno out of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, despite a call by top Umno leaders last night to study the option, says an analyst.

This comes amid talk of increasing uneasiness among Umno leaders with the government led by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, as well as recent gestures of support for PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim in the wake of his latest plan to bring down the PN government through the defection of MPs.

Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) said PAS was unperturbed by Umno’s threats to quit the coalition government, as the Islamist party appeared comfortable working with Muhyiddin.

“Umno and PN need PAS,” Shamsul, of UKM’s Institute of Ethnic Studies, told MalaysiaNow.

PAS and Umno signed the Muafakat Nasional charter last year, ending decades of rivalry between the two largest Malay-based political parties.

Shamsul said with 18 MPs, PAS was aware that it could become the “kingmaker” by favouring either Umno or Bersatu in the event of a general election.

Yesterday, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan announced that the party was considering quitting PN, the coalition formed in the wake of Pakatan Harapan’s collapse in February, which backed Muhyiddin to form a new federal government.

“Umno and PN need PAS.”

Umno also said it was more interested in working with PAS within the Muafakat framework.

However, the PAS leadership has openly stated that the party is committed to Muafakat but will not abandon PN.

“And that is to strengthen Muafakat Nasional and defend it,” PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.

Shamsul said Umno was now split between several factions, each of them embracing either Barisan Nasional, PN or Muafakat.

He described Umno’s position as being involved in a “political polygamy”.

“This is the fate that has befallen Umno. It is confused,” Shamsul added.

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