Political ceasefire may be temporary, analysts say

Bersatu in MN will only create further dissatisfaction especially on the issue of seat distribution for GE15


THE call for political ceasefire may be temporary, due to the challenging political climate and Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) shaky ground with a razor-thin majority in Dewan Rakyat, analysts said.

Associate professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the situation is more pressing now as political parties — especially Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia — are looking for their future survival.

“The call for a ceasefire can ease the tension for the next two weeks, but there is no guarantee it would continue,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a recent phone interview.

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Wednesday that the party has decided to fully support the government in its effort to help the people, as the country is coping with rising Covid-19 cases and an economic downturn.

This is in contrast with Umno’s previous statement which threatened to pull out of PN, while pledging to strengthen the Muafakat Nasional (MN) coalition it has with PAS.

Last Tuesday, PAS and Umno also announced that both parties had agreed to officially register MN as a political entity with the Registrar of Societies.

The announcement, however, did not mention if Bersatu will be part of the Malay-Muslim based coalition.

Awang Azman said Umno would try to drag the progress of Bersatu into MN as the party’s grassroots are uneasy with the political cooperation.

“Bersatu in MN will only create further dissatisfaction especially on the issue of seat distribution for GE15 (15th General Election).

“If Umno has to share its seat allocation with Bersatu, the former will lose a lot of seats, risking the party’s existence in the political radar,” Awang Azman said.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali said MN’s registration will put greater pressure on Bersatu, which has been promoting the PN brand.

“Umno has strong grassroots and machinery, so does PAS. For Bersatu, their focal strength is only on Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s (picture) premiership. So, I do not think Umno needs Bersatu in the next GE,” he told TMR recently.

Mazlan added that Umno has also learnt from the recent Sabah state election, which caused Umno’s traditional seats and the chief minister position being taken up by Bersatu.

“So, unless the agreement on who is contesting which seat is settled, I do not think MN will officially accept Bersatu.

“At the same time, Umno’s plan in pressuring Muhyiddin to dissolve the Parliament has yet to succeed as the prime minister also needs this to be sorted out first.

“Now, the bargain continues,” Mazlan said.

Meanwhile, Dr Sahul Hamid Mohamed Maiddin of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris believes Umno will remain with Bersatu to stay in the government.

“It is interesting to see how PAS will react to this, as previously PAS had one foot in MN and another in PN, while Umno had earlier rejected to be officially part of PN coalition,” he said.