PETALING JAYA: A common logo for Umno and PAS will pose a serious threat to PKR, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), if the results of the last general election are anything to go by.
The May 9, 2018, general election results show that there are 21 Pakatan Harapan parliamentary seats where the votes for the Umno and PAS candidate combined was more than the ballots received by the Pakatan victors (see graphic).
Of these seats, nine are held by PKR while Bersatu and Amanah each holds six.
Among big-name MPs in these seats are the mentris besar of Kedah Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun) and Perak Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu (Tambun).
Others include Cabinet ministers such as Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (Kulim-Bandar Baharu), Dr Xavier Jayakumar (Kuala Langat) and Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (Indera Mahkota) from PKR; Datuk Seri Rina Harun (Titiwangsa) from Bersatu; as well as Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof (Parit Buntar) and Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) from Amanah.
Universiti Malaya political analyst Dr Muhammad Asri Mohd Ali said many factors influence voter sentiments, but the use of a common logo by Umno and PAS would definitely spell trouble for Pakatan.
“At the grassroots level, the machineries of Umno and PAS are stronger and more established compared to Amanah and Bersatu.
“Also, in the rural areas of the peninsula, many Malays especially the older generation, are comfortable with a united PAS and Umno,” said Muhammad Asri.
He said many older Malays still remember PAS was part of Barisan Nasional from 1974 to 1978, and how that period coincided with the introduction of many government programmes to help the bumi-putra.
To counter a united Umno and PAS, Pakatan must focus more on addressing Malay concerns, Muhammad Asri said.
This, he explained, would not only encompass bread-and-butter worries such as rising prices and job prospects that are shared with other races, but also concerns by the community that bumiputra privileges as well as the position of Islam are under threat.
Last month, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the cooperation between Umno and PAS is not a political gimmick but a sincere collaboration for the sake of Islam, the Malays and the country.
Both parties are sincere partners and have no hidden agenda, he added.
The former deputy prime minister said he believed PAS wanted to cooperate with Umno for the sake of Islam.