Melaka election an acid test for Muafakat Nasional


THE outcome of the Melaka election, to be held this weekend, will bring a more significant impact on the Muafakat Nasional (MN) co-operation, experts say.

Umno and Pas cooperation has been strained ever since the Islamist party opts to continue working with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance, led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Observers noted that despite political leaders of both parties insisting that everything is fine within MN, there are growing animosities at the grassroot levels.

Malacca state election may widen the gap between Umno and Pas, as both parties are set to face each other in seven seats.

“If Umno wins more seats they will definitely make a ‘solo’ move to face the upcoming general election (GE15),” Universiti Teknologi Malaysia senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“At that time, Pas will have to realign its political standing regarding its partner, whether Pas will still be together with Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) to further strengthen the Perikatan Nasional (PN) will be dependent on the performance of said coalition in the upcoming state election,”  he explained.

“If the combination of Pas and Bersatu could win significant seats through PN, I expect Pas will look into ways to solidify its bond with the latter.”

According to Dr Mazlan, based on the recent Pas election, most of its pro-Umno leaders have lost their positions within the party.

“This is a clear indication of Pas move to strengthen its move with Bersatu and not to UMNO not to mention UMNO reluctant in accepting Bersatu as its component members are disappointing for Pas in its objective to set up an ‘Ummah’ government led by the Malays,” he said.

Mazlan opined that the state election is like a simulation for the political parties to test the water whether each party still has the people’s support and trust for them to face the upcoming GE15.

“If Umno succeeds in forming a government in Melaka, it is a certain indication that the party through Barisan Nasional (BN) will strengthen their position to its former glory together with MCA and MIC.”

He also noted that Umno and Pas will see more challenges like this especially in the Malay areas in the east coast and northern states and reiterated that the bond between both Malay led parties will no longer be as solid as when it was established.

BN will face Pakatan Harapan, PN and independent candidates in all 28 state seats this Saturday.

Early voting will take place today (Nov 16) involving 11,557, according to the Election Commission (EC).

BN Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa had said that the competition between MN parties is not unique or unusual.

Deputy Director Institute of Ethnic Studies UKM Prof Dr Kartini Aboo Talib @ Khalid said Pas and Umno has a long history of severing its ties and getting back together.

It is not something unsurprising if Pas-Umno decides to stop their working cooperation.

“I think on the matter of the relationship between them (UMNO-Pas), there will not be a problem as the engagement between the leaders is still ongoing, and this is an election on a state level.

“But the cooperation is still strong at the national level so everything is fine, after all at the end of the day we are still the same government,” she said.