KUALA LUMPUR – February 2, 2017: News that PAS and Pribumi Bersatu are taking steps to form a cooperation have not taken the Barisan Nasional camp by surprise.
Several lower level BN leaders who spoke to The Mole today said they had expected from the start that PAS, which has seemingly improved relations with Umno of late, would make such a move.
They also feel that BN, particularly Umno, should not expect a friendly PAS in the next general election.
PAS had yesterday formed a joint committee with Pribumi Bersatu to discuss the finer points of a possible electoral cooperation framework.
A joint press statement was issued by PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and his Pribumi Bersatu counterpart Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
The news sparked an outcry among Umno supporters in social media, upset at what they consider to be betrayal by PAS.
Sekijang Umno deputy division chief Anuar Abdul Manap is however unfazed because he has always been sceptical of the Islamist party’s intentions when it appeared to be friendly with Umno.
“Janganlah terhegeh-hegeh (Don’t rush into it and fool yourself),” was his advice to fellow Umno members who were overly disappointed by the move.
“Trust me, they (PAS) never had any intention of cooperating with BN in the first place,” he added.
Anuar said BN members and supporters should instead focus on strengthening the party’s machinery and not on the lost opportunity with PAS.
The implicit attempt by PAS at trying to foster cordial ties with Umno started after DAP declared the death of Pakatan Rakyat in April 2015 due to PAS’s insistence in wanting to implement hudud (syariah criminal law).
Gerakan Youth deputy chief Andy Yong said it was understandable that some Umno leaders and members were angry with PAS for opening the possibility of cooperation with Pribumi Bersatu.
“Especially so if PAS and Umno had agreed to something beforehand.
“Of course other BN component parties would not be happy if Umno had indeed cooperated with PAS but I think Umno was only trying to secure the Malay votes,” said Yong.
Yong nonetheless pointed out that Umno should not be too worried about the possibility of losing the chance of working with PAS because it actually improves the chance of BN winning more non-Malay votes.
MCA central committee member Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker agrees with Yong’s views.
“Umno must realise that the minorities are looking for a party that will not compromise their interests,” Ti said in reference to Umno’s tacit support for the syariah empowerment bill introduced by PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang.
For Umno to support the PAS agenda was, as Ti puts it, unheard of previously. This is why he thinks non-Malays see Umno as unreliable.
“They (non-Malays) are looking for politicians and parties with the mettle to safeguard what’s written in the federal Constitution.
“Our (BN) support has always been from the middle-ground who trust us to uphold our multiculturalism,” Ti said.