Saturday, January 22, 2022

Better for Amanah to merge with DAP, analysts say on PKR tie-up proposal

They say this would allay Malay concerns about the Chinese-majority party.

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Analysts say a suggestion that Amanah work with PKR will not succeed in attracting the Malay vote to Pakatan Harapan (PH), adding that the PAS splinter will have a bigger impact if it joins forces with DAP.

Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya said PKR already has Malay and Islamic elements through several of its main leaders.

If DAP works with Amanah, he added, Malay concerns about the Chinese-majority party will be eased.

“DAP could give Amanah the posts of deputy or vice-presidents, or a place on its Supreme Council,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“If this happens, it could dilute the ‘Chinese-ness’ of DAP which is frequently the target of perception and propaganda manipulation by its political foes.”

His remarks are in sync with those of Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu, who called for DAP to link up with other parties to become an entity that represents all races.

Most recently, he said that party would need rebranding to discard DAP’s Chinese image.

The suggestion for ties between PKR and Amanah surfaced after PH’s defeat at the Melaka election last month, which saw Barisan Nasional forming the state government with a two-thirds majority of the 38 seats contested in the polls.

PKR did not win any seats while DAP saw a drop in the number of seats held by its representatives.

Some observers attributed the defeat to PH’s failure to bring in the Malay vote, leading to the call for PKR and Amanah to join forces for this purpose.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said the proposal could be implemented but would need to be discussed first, while the Amanah leadership flatly rejected it.

Amanah was formed in 2015 by former PAS leaders who met defeat in the party elections that year.

The PH component party which was part of the coalition at its historic victory in the 2018 general election champions progressive Islam as its ideology.

Awang Azman said those in the middle class see DAP as a mainly Chinese party which needs to prove that it represents all races in Malaysia.

‘Amanah will sink’

But Ahmad Marthada Mohamed of Universiti Utara Malaysia said a merger of DAP and Amanah would be difficult to implement given their differences in ideology.

“It would benefit DAP in terms of image but Amanah would be straying from its founding principles,” he said.

He added however that Amanah would need to consider the prospect of merging with other parties in the interest of its survival.

In terms of the Malay vote, Marthada said Amanah would have zero chances if Umno, PAS and Bersatu team up at the 15th general election.

He said PKR was a good alternative given that the party has support from the Malay voters which Amanah is also looking to tap.

“If you look at the situation in detail, Amanah has no grassroots support,” he said.

“Basically, voters support PH. They don’t support Amanah.”

On how the Chinese would react if DAP merges with Amanah, Awang Azman said those who were unhappy would need to accept the reality of pluralism in Malaysia.

“PH’s problem is convincing the Malay voters,” he said. “Just 10% of the Malay vote is enough for PH to win.”

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