PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan leaders see no cause for worry over the political cooperation to be inked by Umno and PAS this Saturday, but analysts warn not to undermine the strength of the two parties.
Pakatan leaders and political analysts, however, were of the view that if Pakatan delivers its manifesto promises in the next three years, this political cooperation may be countered.
PKR central leadership committee member Sivarasa Rasiah said the Penyatuan Ummah (Ummah Unity Gathering) by PAS and Umno is being held because the only political capital they have is race and religion issues to attract Malay support.
“The majority of voters, including the new young voters, still prefer the inclusive, multiracial and multireligious Pakatan based on our constitutional fundamentals such as the position of the Rulers, Islam as the religion of the Federation, status of Bahasa Malaysia and the special position of Malays, and Sabah and Sarawak bumiputra in Article 153, ” said Sivarasa.
He said Pakatan’s vision of “prosperity for all” and aid given to all regardless of race and religion had struck a chord with most Malaysians as was seen in the last general election.
Umno and PAS will hold a two-day gathering on Sept 13 and 14, which will culminate in the signing of a joint charter and an MoU inking an official political cooperation between the two parties.
“Pakatan, however, must not be complacent but work hard to deliver economic prosperity, jobs and good and clean governance, ” said Sivarasa, who is Deputy Rural Development Minister.
He said PAS had the capacity to mobilise the people but the numbers do not reflect real voter support.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua said Pakatan parties “must neither be too disturbed nor distracted by the mobilisation of Malays”.
Political analyst Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said the rally came about as Pakatan had failed to contain racism and religious problems properly.
He warned Pakatan that Umno had the experience of being in the government for 61 years while PAS was an experienced opposition.
“Pakatan has to capture the attention of voters who are fence-sitters – the biggest segment of voters. They are not loyal but sways to the one who offers them more.
“This group is also the one most affected by the high cost of living and economy regression, ” said Mazlan, noting that Pakatan had three more years to fulfil its election promises.
Mazlan, however, also pointed out that the play of race and religious issues by Umno and PAS might backfire as the younger voters are not in favour of this.
Persatuan Gerakan Demokrasi Profesional (Prodem) president Md Shukri Shuib described the gathering as a positive move aimed at uniting the Malays.
“The gathering should not be viewed solely as a political move by Umno and PAS.
“What is important to find out are the reasons leading to the gathering between this two parties who were once sworn political foes, ” said Shukri.
He noted that an underlying unhappiness among the Malays might be a factor for the gathering.
Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst Prof Sivamurugan Pandian said the gathering is a move by Umno and PAS not merely to unite the Malays but regain the Malay voter ground.
“Race and religion have always been a part of politics in the country and the gathering may be a strategy not only to unite the Malays but
also win back their support, ” he added.
However, he said that any Umno-PAS charter must also take into account the support from other races, including the bumiputra in Sabah and Sarawak.