The senseless tug of war

The great temptation of power might have led such warnings to fall on deaf ears


THE tug of war between Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is getting tired and old for most of us.

Umno’s latest move, which gripped the nation on whether the party would withdraw its support from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, also proved to be anti-climatic.

Yesterday, Umno announced, yet again, its support for PN, after denouncing the coalition almost two weeks ago (which was actually reversed a day later).

It does not hurt to ask at this point of time: What does Umno really want?

Despite the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s decree on Sunday, urging politicians to stop politicking, we witnessed how the advice appeared to fall on deaf ears.

The news of multiple political meetings that took place since Sunday night, until the wee hour of Monday, proved exactly just that.

It goes without saying that without Bersatu, there is no way for the Malay-based party to return to Putrajaya since its defeat in May 2018.

Of course, the same goes to Umno. Without Umno’s MPs, Bersatu would not be able to form a federal government.

It seems more obvious now that Umno remains dissatisfied with how some things or maybe some persons are doing in the government and it is getting harder to ignore these days.

To make it more interesting and also confusing to some, former Umno president Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak admitted that he had proposed for a political cooperation between Umno and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The revelation seemed to confirm widespread rumours that Najib and Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had thrown in their support to make Anwar the new prime minister, replacing Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin not too long ago.

Until yesterday, Najib remained insistent on working with Anwar, without DAP. He stressed that it is important for Umno to make a political stand that the party is open for negotiations with others, to show PN that it has a choice.

In other words, Umno does not need PN as much as it needs them. This is not the first time that Umno had threatened to withdraw from the government. It is also not the first time for the party to mull cooperation with the Port Dickson MP.

As it is, Bersatu has a lot at stake, compared to other political parties. For now, it can be rest assured of PAS’ support, but the Islamist party’s past record has shown how its stance is changeable.

It will be interesting to see how it is going to retaliate against Umno’s pressure, after being accused of wrongly advising the King over the state of emergency matter.

The one who has a lot to lose will have to do more to appease the situation. Bersatu may need to watch its back constantly to avoid any more surprises. For its critics, however, this is exactly what they have been warned of before.

It is just that the great temptation of power might have led such warnings to fall on deaf ears. Who knows?

Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.