Umno working with DAP post-GE15? Put terms of deal in writing, say analysts

PETALING JAYA: Any collaboration between Umno and DAP must be clearly spelled out and set in writing instead of a mere "marriage of convenience", say analysts.

Dr Azmi Hassan, a senior fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR), said while Umno was likely to win big in the coming general election, it would still need to cooperate with other parties to form the government, both at the Federal and state levels.

"The cooperation must not be one of convenience to fulfil the party's political agenda to be part of the Federal Government such as the Sheraton Move.

"We can see that this led to the current political turmoil we are in.

"If Umno and DAP try to form the government, there needs to be a solid agreement inked between the two with all the terms and references in place so that stability is guaranteed," he said when contacted on Monday (Aug 8).

ALSO READ: Loke not ruling out working with Umno

He cited as an example the recent demand by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) for the post of deputy prime minister.

"I hope the politicians have learned their lesson and (will) put in place a solid agreement after the 15th General Election (GE15) if there is to be any cooperation," added Azmi.

He was asked to comment on DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke saying that his party would not rule out a collaboration with Umno as "anything was possible in politics".

In a recent interview, Loke said that this could happen following the drastic political changes after the 2018 general election, particularly in the absence of a single dominant party.

Umno currently held 38 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, minus Gerik which fell vacant following the death of Datuk Hasbullah Osman, 63, in November 2020.

ALSO READ: Pakatan’s terms of cooperation cannot be dictated by others, says Loke

Umno was the dominant party in the Barisan Nasional coalition which also had two seats from MCA, one from MIC and one from PBRS.

At present, DAP has 42 seats in the lower House although its chairman Lim Guan Eng conceded that the party was likely to lose five seats in the next polls if voting trends persisted.

DAP had the most seats in the Pakatan Harapan coalition followed by PKR (36), Parti Amanah Negara (11) and Upko (one).

A party or coalition with a simple majority of 112 seats out of the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat was able to form the government but could be easily destabilised if a component withdrew its support.

International Islamic University Malaysia's constitutional and administrative law lecturer Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod said cooperation between DAP and Umno was dependent upon the grassroot sentiments of both parties.

ALSO READ: BN supreme council meeting on GE15 expected to be held on Aug 15

"Whatever DAP and Umno decide, it must not affect their supporters' belief in them," he said.

He said such cooperation would be difficult as each party's grassroots had always been suspicious of the other.

"Furthermore, if PAS is still part of the government, DAP will find it difficult to be part of a coalition that supports the government," he added.

If such cooperation was needed, he said that Umno would still not desert its Barisan partners.

"Umno, MCA and MIC have been through thick and thin," he said.

Universiti Sains Malaysia's political science expert Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said there was unlikely to be a dominant party or coalition with the majority after the next general election.

"In such a situation, they will have to negotiate and come up with a new deal or realignment.

"We saw this was possible back in March 2020 and it will not be a surprise if this happens again," he said, adding that parties from Sarawak and Sabah were likely to be the kingmakers after GE15.

Sivamurugan added that any form of cooperation would require all the parties involved getting consent from their respective coalition partners.

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