PAS out to play peacemaker between warring parties

PETALING JAYA: PAS wants to play peacemaker between Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia ahead of the 15th General Election (GE15), but it remains to be seen if a reconciliation is even possible, say analysts.

For Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, the party’s stance on Bersatu remains.

“Our stand on Bersatu is well known and it will never change,” he said briefly when contacted.

While Khaled did not specify exactly what Umno’s stance was, it is believed to be in reference to the resolution passed in its general assembly in March 2021 that Barisan Nasional would contest GE15 on its own.

Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, was pessimistic about PAS’ efforts to broker peace.

“There is no sign to indicate that this time around, they (PAS) would succeed in reconciling Umno and Bersatu,” said Oh, who nonetheless still conceded that anything is possible in the current fragmented political landscape.

“After all, the three are now in the same coalition, albeit being strange bedfellows.”

If Umno and PAS were to clash in GE15, Oh said a similar situation like 2018’s general election could happen.

“PAS drew away a number of Malay votes from Umno, which handed over victories to Pakatan Harapan in several states.

“But, if they (Umno and PAS) were to work together, they would each have to yield some seats to the other to avoid collision,” he added.

Umno has been clashing with Perikatan Nasional since the Johor and Melaka state elections, in both of which Barisan managed to secure two-thirds majorities.

National Professors Council senior fellow Dr Jeniri Amir is also doubtful that PAS can be an effective mediator between Umno and Bersatu, due to the lack of trust between them.

“You have to bear in mind you need to create trust first,” he said.

Recently, Perikatan chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin issued statements criticising Umno and the Prime Minister.

“How can PAS be a mediator in a situation like this?” said Jeniri, while pointing out that Umno has made it clear that it will be facing GE15 alone.

“Umno has full confidence it can secure more seats without the help of Bersatu.

“I don’t see any reason for Umno to cooperate with a weaker party such as Bersatu,” he added.

However, he said if PAS succeeds in brokering peace between Umno and Bersatu, then they will have a more solid team to face Pakatan and its allies.

“Both Umno and PAS are known for their strong grassroots machinery. In terms of party membership, Umno alone has more than three million members.

“If you add that to PAS’ machinery, they may win a lot more seats in GE15,” said Jeniri.

Undeterred, PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said although Umno and Bersatu are at loggerheads currently, a “peace plan” will be drafted for a win-win solution.

“If we want to fight, we must be smart and wise, and we shall fight for the real victory,” he was quoted as saying in PAS organ HarakahDaily.

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