Forget PAS, stop pussyfooting and fight, Umno told
PETALING JAYA: A political analyst sees today’s Umno as a mere shadow of its former self, “weak and afraid” despite the size of its membership and its strong grassroots support.
For Umno to be a dominant political force again, said National Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir, its leaders must have the courage to take on the party’s enemies even if it means being in the opposition.
He was commenting on the refusal of Umno leaders to leave their posts as ministers and deputy ministers despite the general assembly’s resolution against working with PPBM in the next election.
PAS has decided to strengthen its collaboration with PPBM in Perikatan Nasional (PN), raising questions about its pact with Umno in Muafakat Nasional (MN). Umno delegates to the recent general assembly had urged PAS to choose between MN and PN.
Jeniri said past Umno leaders had “more gumption” to fight their enemies, regardless of who they were.
“Now PAS has made it clear it is with PPBM. Umno is clearly on its own. So just face it, pull the trigger, leave the government and prepare for elections,” he said.
Jeniri claimed that the “personal agendas” of Umno leaders were keeping the party from moving forward.
“If the leaders are strong, they would not be afraid to quit the government. Umno would not be afraid to have party elections,” he said.
Another analyst, Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya, said Umno’s leadership should just forget about PAS and move on.
“Umno is not a party that usually wins just 10 to 20 seats. This is a party that always wins more than 50 seats. It has a track record of governing, and the sentiments on the ground favour it,” he said.
Oh Ei Sun, a fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the government, which is ruling under an emergency, would continue to function even if Umno were to “pull the trigger”.
“In the meantime, Umno loses its government machinery and public resources, which are essential for elections,” he said.
Oh described PAS’ decision to side with PPBM as “convenient and opportunistic”.
“PPBM is desperate to seek a partnership that could boost its appeal among the Malays, while PAS is willing to work with any party that it perceives to be conducive in advancing its long-term theocratic agenda,” he said.
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