KUALA LUMPUR – Jan 11, 2016: The pressure coming from Pas’ grassroots has halted moves towards a political cooperation between the Islamist party and Umno, say analysts.
Last Saturday, in a closed-door session for Pas members at Kolej Universiti Islam Zulkifli Muhammad (KUIZM), the party’s election director Mustafa Ali stressed that there will be no political cooperation with Umno even up to next general election.
Mustafa was also reported to say that the decision made is in line with the resolution earlier announced by Pas’ syura council. He further added, the cooperation between the parties would only be limited to non-political issues.
Local political analysts who talked to The Mole concurred that such decision made by the Islamist party might ensues from the pressure of its grassroots who seemed to be apprehensive towards Umno.
Associate Professor Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) when contacted said that Pas is facing resistance from its grassroots and a number of top leaders towards the idea of having a political collaboration with Umno.
Azizudin added, such deviation expressed by several party members might be stemming from the existing sentiment within the party, where they still view Umno as their arch-enemy.
He said, this sentiment led to further confusion, whereas Pas members and top leaders might misconstrued the idea of collaborating as “merging under the same coalition”, which is under the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
“Collaboration does not mean that they have to merge into a political coalition.
“I believe the grassroots are confused and might also be afraid of the changing of ‘political module’ or values once the collaboration is established…this is halting the parties’ political cooperation” he added.
Nevertheless, the analyst viewed that the “non-political cooperation” as suggested by the Pas election director as a “stepping stone” for both parties to establish proper cooperation tie.
Azizudin also agreed that with such cooperation being extended by both Umno and Pas, they would be able to tackle prominent issues like the Malays’ agenda and discussions on Islamic policies.
Geo-strategist Dr Azmi Hassan of Perdana School and Geospatial Institute is of the same mind that the Pas grassroots are uneasy over the idea of their party and Umno having a political tie, and were not easily convinced by the party leaders that it is alright to have one.
Azmi concluded that the party grassroots might also be growing weary upon the official inking of Pakatan Harapan (PH) last Saturday, which had also signified that PH “eliminates” Pas in total from the opposition front.
Together with the heated claim that PH does not need Pas, the geo-strategist explained that the Islamist party would not survive the coming general election if it were to stick to its decision and refuse to cooperate with Umno.
“I think that such decision is only being a disservice to the party itself. Their supporters alone are unable to give them enough (electoral) seats, now that they (Pas) are out of the newly established PH.
“The party needs Umno for its survival in the next election…that is what the leaders should have told the party members,” he added.
On the other hand, Azmi pointed that Pas’ idea to work only on non-political ground is rather unrewarding for both the party and Umno, as it does not translated into “political mileage”, now that they need to face PH in 14th general election.
However, both Azmi and Azizudin agreed that it would be too early for observers to conclude that there would be no Pas-Umno political cooperation in the future.
Azizudin hinted that Pas might have announced its rejection now, but as the popular saying goes that “anything is possible in politics”, the party would probably declared that it will collaborate with Umno in nearest future.
Additionally, Azmi also commented that it will come a day when Pas needs to make a decision for the betterment of the party, adding that he is more inclined that when the election comes, Pas and Umno will work together, whether explicitly or implicitly.
Both analysts also commented that Pas appears to have no place in PH following its rift with DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
With this, it is suggested that Pas must continue to convince its grassroots to accept political tie with Umno, at least for its sake in facing the next general election.
The analysts also mooted that it is better for Pas to use the remaining two years before the actual date of the general election to persuade its grassroots on the matter before it is too late.