Ahmad Zahid to gauge Umno-PKR sentiment at general assembly

Umno’s move to partner PKR after the GE15 seems logical, as there may be no clear majority winner or coalition in the polls


THE upcoming Umno general assembly will be the best place for party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (picture) to evaluate the grassroots’ sentiment on the possibility of establishing the cooperation with PKR, analysts said.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali said Ahmad Zahid is expected to deliberate tactfully as the issue is contentious and sensitive among the party members, which have already been divided due to conflicting stand on the existing cooperation with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

“It is no secret of the existing factions. So I think Ahmad Zahid will be very careful on how he should project his agenda during the general assembly,” Mazlan told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) yesterday.

Mazlan believed there is logic behind Ahmad Zahid’s move to partner PKR after the 15th General Election (GE15), as he predicted that there may be no clear majority winner or coalition in the polls.

Last week, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he met several Umno leaders to discuss possible political cooperation in the next GE.

However, in a news report of an English daily yesterday, Ahmad Zahid rebutted the claims, saying that the potential pact with PKR will only be explored after the election.

Umno’s general assembly will be held virtually this weekend and is expected to determine the party’s next course of action following its recent announcement of breaking up with Bersatu in GE15.

After Umno returned to the government, the party’s understanding with its Muafakat Nasional (MN) partner, PAS, is in question, as the Islamic party maintained its loyalty to Bersatu and decided to officially join Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Analysts are of the view that while distribution of seats between Umno and PAS is likely to be sorted out within time, Umno and Bersatu will find themselves in a deadlock on seats allocation.

Last year, Umno Supreme Council — a body tasked to “act on behalf” of its general assembly delegates — stated that they would continue to support the PN government, but the ties only remain until the Parliament is dissolved.

Additionally, there were also resolutions by the divisions that the party must not consider any cooperation with PKR and socialist party DAP.

“So, Ahmad Zahid will have to be careful because we could also foresee some move and campaign to save the relationship between Umno and Bersatu at different levels.

“But it is hard to see Umno members agreeing with PKR,” he said.

Mazlan added that by convention, if Ahmad Zahid, who still has court cases, could not get support in the assembly, the Bagan Datuk lawmaker may have to step down from his presidency.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya political analyst Associate Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the party gathering will likely centre around the cooperation of Bersatu and Umno — either both will remain on the same boat or otherwise.

“The matter of Umno-PKR would not arise because there is no formal understanding through official meetings between the two parties, unlike PAS and Umno in the case of MN.

“But the issue of cooperation between Umno and Bersatu has been discussed several times in the Supreme Council meeting, so this will be the priority,” Awang Azman told TMR.

Awang Azman predicted that key discussion will be on the mechanisms to strengthen MN and the emphasis on the party’s unity, as well as effective information system to face GE15, hence ensuring all levels at the party’s hierarchy carry the same message and toe the line.

Read our previous report here

Umno never changes its ‘No DAP, No PKR’ stance