Pakatan-BN partnership on shaky ground, say experts

Angie Tan

Experts say Pakatan Harapan finds its fortunes more tied to Barisan Nasional than it would like, despite the latter’s drubbing at the national ballot box recently. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 7, 2022.

THE changing political landscape after the general election will see Perikatan Nasional (PN) giving Pakatan Harapan (PH) a tough fight in six state elections next year, analysts said.

Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan decided not dissolve their state assemblies in conjunction with the election, but to allow them to run to full term, ending in 2023.

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  • In the earlier years post Merdeka, UMNO was seen as the protector of the race and religion. With the rise of PAS especially in the east coast states, UMNO was there to counter the rising influence of PAS and keep the latter's brand of politics in check.

    UMNO, post Tun Mahathir 1st term as PM began to deviate from its original role as a moderate protector as it's leaders found that plundering the national coffers was more lucrative and relatively easy. This lead to BN-UMNO losing power for the first time ever in 2018. To regain power, it experimented with cooperation with its mortal enemy, PAS under Maufakat Nasional which had some success in state and by-elections. The eventual break-up of the Maufakat has largely to do with UMNO leaders realising the real possiblility of UMNO being subsumed by PAS if the relationship continues.

    In all this while, with a severely weaken corruption tainted UMNO berated by its opponents especially PH, the Malays, especially in the heartlands no longer regarded UMNO as a credible protector of their interests. It is little wonder that PN, notably PAS benefitted immensely from UMNO's problems.

    No political analyst or season political operative foresaw this lacuna in the Malay heartland EXCEPT Tun Mahathir. He hurriedly cobbled together a mix bag of Malay parties, NGOs and activist under GTA to fill the gap left by UMNO so that the rural Malays will have a credible alternative other than PAS. But alas, there just wasn't time for GTA to take roots (GTA is not even formally incorporated) before GE15 was called. As it turns out, GTA lost badly with all losing their deposits including Tun himself.

    Tun's effort at forming another pure Malay based independent party premised on integrity and anti-corruption is sound strategy. I believe Tun had hoped that his credentials championing for the Malays all his adult life would helped GTA gain some seats as voters fled UMNO. But it was not to be.

    In the interest of our multi-racial society, I believe UMNO must rebuild and regain its strength so that it may once again play it's moderate role as it's founders had envisaged. Whilst many had touted the need to do away with racial based parties, it may not be time yet. It will be a delicate balancing act as affirmative action policies are still embedded in our Constitution. We need to be realistic. Tun Mahathir has a reservoir or experience and views. He foresaw the need for a new political paradigm, he first mooted the idea of a unity govt and he also foresaw the voter void left by UMNO.

    PH will never be able to fill the lacuna left by UMNO so it be wise to form a long term alliance with a reformed BN-UMNO. PH should also seek out Tun Mahathir and listen to his views. Stop harping about the Sheraton Move which to me had to happen as the old politics of race & religion was just not sustainable.

    We now have a Unity Govt for better or worse we have to make it work. My congratulations and best wishes to PM Anwar Ibrahim.

    Posted 1 month ago by Super Duper

  • Though PH and BN unity after GE15 started on shaky grounds, the survival factor will help to instill changes to meet the challenges. PH has faced many challenges since GE 14. Sabah and Sarawak are now directly involved with PH as partners in the government. Those who have travelled to Sabah and Sarawak will know that PAS cannot make much in roads there.

    Posted 1 month ago by Citizen Pencen