PETALING JAYA,Oct 13: A political analyst says DAP’s image among Malay voters and their perception of the party, could improve if the party agrees to work with Umno under a government led by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Anwar was a leader who seemed capable of negotiating a form of political inclusiveness, adding that Malaysia’s politics should no longer be centred on ethnicity or religion but on nationality.
“If DAP rejects working with Umno (under an Anwar-led government), then it will give the wrong perception to the Malay people and the Malay royal institution. DAP must avoid sending the message or perception that DAP cannot tolerate a Malay-Muslim government led by Anwar,” he told FMT.
Awang Azman said DAP was only able to win many marginal non-Malay seats because of PKR, adding that the party had contested under the banner of Anwar’s party in the 2018 elections.
With DAP’s support base already seemingly saturated, he said they did not seem capable of increasing their number of seats without PKR’s support.
“Malay support will determine DAP’s future because if DAP wants to increase their strength in terms of their number of seats, they need Malay support to stand in mixed areas.
“So it’s time for DAP to assume a progressive role in replacing MCA, MIC and Gerakan. And they need to be more moderate in order to be accepted by other ethnicities, especially the Bumiputeras in this country.”
He said Malaysia’s politics needed to be proportional to the nation’s population, of which Bumiputeras form about 60%, in order to promote inter-racial harmony and to better develop the country.
“Malaysians want political stability and the involvement of the various ethnicities for a more stable national development,” he said.
However, political analyst Azmi Hassan said DAP will be seen as opportunistic if the party really does work with Umno MPs under Anwar. “And, by extension, those Umno MPs working with DAP will be regarded as traitors to the Malays,” he told FMT.
Even if the two parties were to collaborate, Azmi said the only way for DAP to improve its popularity with Malay voters would be if Umno were to reign over its old rival.
“If the cooperation is on equal footing, this will not convince the Malays. On the other hand, if the cooperation is based on individual Umno MPs and not Umno as an organisation, then the impact on DAP’s image won’t be that great.”
Last month, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party’s 42 MPs would give their support to Anwar if it was true that the PKR president had the numbers to form the government.
However, while campaigning for Warisan in Sabah a week later, he said DAP would not work with Umno as long as it remains under the leadership of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak.
Following Anwar’s initial announcement, Umno president Zahid said he had been informed that many Umno MPs were in support of Anwar and that he could not stop them from doing so.
Anwar is set to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today.