Many friends, especially those who don’t read Chinese, have been asking me about Nanyang Siang Pau’s exclusive news on the front page yesterday (Sept 18, 2016) entitled ‘Umno-PAS cooperation to win power in Selangor; a pact not to fight each other’. The screenshot of the news piece is now widely circulated beyond the Chinese-reading audience.
The piece, quoting unnamed sources, suggested that Umno and PAS had negotiated a deal, and are now waiting for PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to give his green light. The deal, according to the story, will involve an election pact which will ensure both Umno and PAS would not contest against each other, so that Umno will battle PKR while PAS faces Parti Amanah Negara.
It is hard to ascertain how genuine and accurate the report is but the possibility of a full-fledged Umno-PAS electoral pact should not be discounted. Indeed, it is just a logical extension of the increasingly closer ties between Umno and PAS.
We should welcome this development as it provides clarity for national political realignment. What is needed now is clarity, and further consolidation of those who are against Najib Abdul Razak.
For the past year since the demise of Pakatan Rakyat, there are voices within the anti-Najib forces that wanted to work with PAS in the hope of achieving a ‘one-to-one’ fight in the coming general election. If the Nanyang news report is to be believed, however, it is clear now that PAS is not interested at all.
There was also a theory that a four percent Malay vote swing would dislodge Umno if there was cooperation with PAS. However, with the recent electoral boundary redelineation proposal that is clearly biased towards Umno, this marginal seat theory is now discredited.
I am still of the view that the political and economic conditions provide the basis for a Malay gelombang (wave). But this can only be achieved when there is clarity in the national realignment.
We will have to make a choice between those who want to maintain the status quo, i.e. supporting Najib’s corrupt regime as well as the Umno-PAS agenda of racial politics, and those who are for real change and reform, i.e. Pakatan Harapan, anti-Najib ex-Umno forces such as Bersatu leaders, and majority of Malaysians.
Realignment has to start with those who want change and reform. There is an urgent need for consensus now to clarify the situation because PAS’ leadership of today is merely an extension branch of Najib’s Umno.
An Umno-PAS pact will put tens of thousands of PAS members in a quandary as many of them have been fighting Umno and Barisan Nasional for years with their brand of inclusive Islam that is no longer the main agenda of the current leadership.
Hence, clarity is needed for Malaysia’s political realignment to shape choices for everyone, including PAS members who want to fight Umno and not work with Umno.
LIEW CHIN TONG