PETALING JAYA: Slightly less than a year ago, three Malay-based parties, excited at the prospect of running a Malay-based government got together in an attempt to unite the Malays. They hit heady heights when the “Sheraton Move” led to power in Putrajaya, but the euphoria only lasted for four to five months.
Political insiders say the clashes began when Umno, PPBM and PAS started seat negotiations for the next general election.
“They realised that if Umno were to ask for more seats in Kelantan, PAS would ask for more seats in Kedah. The more each side gives in, the more that members down the line would be unhappy,” a source from Perikatan Nasional told FMT.
Despite the odds, the three parties managed to complete their negotiations on the majority of seats. But the dissatisfaction remained.
“The main disappointment came from the fact that each party questioned why they have to give in to the other. All three want to be kingmakers, or even kings, in GE15. There seems to be a trust deficit among them,” he said.
The mistrust led to PAS being wooed by both Umno and PPBM, one with grassroots support and the other holding positions of power.
In its eagerness to be part of the country’s administration, PAS would work with any party in power, the source said. PAS may support PPBM for now, but things may change once Parliament is dissolved. “Then, they may go back to Umno which has grassroots support, not PPBM,” he added.
Another source from Barisan Nasional said Umno and PPBM were feeling stagnant in this three-party system.
“Umno members question the need to give in to PPBM when they can run the country on their own. As for PPBM, their image as head of the governing coalition would be at stake if they fail to win seats. They need PAS (to deliver the votes),” the BN source said.
The idealistic aims of a tripartite Malay coalition might not last. “PAS will eventually come back to Umno to woo the Malays,” he added.
The fluidity in Perak
A Perak BN member told FMT that many members of his party had been unhappy with outgoing Perak menteri besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu, for alleged non-performance. It led to the confidence motion in the state assembly on Friday to remove Ahmad Faizal.
“The aim was to get PAS support to appoint a new menteri besar. But it came as a shock to Umno when PAS initially did not support them after Ahmad Faizal was removed,” he said.
That led to Umno making a brazen move to open discussions with the opposition Pakatan Harapan over forming the state government.
The deal would have been a confidence-and-supply arrangement, for PH to support Barisan Nasional in having bills passed in the state assembly, but without holding positions.
PAS was spooked, and on Dec 6, the party told Umno that they would support BN and unite the three Malay-based parties. Intense discussions have been continuing since then. “The situation in Perak still remains fluid,” he added.