Anwar Ibrahim's move to focus his attacks on Perikatan Nasional (PN) over Barisan Nasional (BN) ahead of the Nov 19 polls could foreshadow a post-election pact between the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, analysts say.
Jeniri Amir, a senior fellow at the National Professors Council, said Anwar appeared to be treading carefully to avoid burning bridges with BN as the campaign period for the general election continues.
"He believes BN will win more seats than PN, especially in terms of Umno versus Bersatu," Jeniri told MalaysiaNow.
Anwar, in a recent Facebook post addressed to voters in Tambun, had criticised the PN government, saying former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin failed to manage the country in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Muhyiddin, meanwhile, said on the campaign trail that Anwar as the opposition leader had only levelled criticism during the pandemic instead of coming forward to fight Covid-19 together.
PH won federal power in the 2018 general election, toppling the BN government for the first time in Malaysia's history.
It collapsed after 22 months amid calls for Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister at the time, to hand over power to Anwar as previously promised.
Mahathir eventually resigned while Bersatu, which had joined hands with PKR, DAP and Amanah under the PH banner, exited the coalition.
Muhyiddin was appointed as prime minister in Mahathir's stead, but resigned 17 months later after losing his majority support due to a group of Umno MPs aligned with their president, Zahid.
Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob took over the top office in August 2021.
Analysts and political observers have said that no single coalition is expected to win enough seats at the upcoming election to form a government on its own.
"So all of the blocs, including those from Sabah and Sarawak, are being very careful now," Jeniri said.
Political observer Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Anwar was very disappointed with PN, especially Bersatu and Muhyiddin whom he said Anwar held responsible for the collapse of the PH government.
However, he said Anwar's criticism could also be seen as PH's strategy to win as many parliamentary seats as possible by attacking its enemies, including both PN and BN.
"PH doesn't necessarily concentrate on PN alone because there are times when they attack BN as well," he said. "It depends on the situation."
Mazlan added that Anwar's criticism, whether of BN or PN, did not rule out the possibility of PH working together with either coalition.
"Nothing is for certain in the world of politics," he said.