PETALING JAYA,Mar 5: An analyst predicts Umno and PPBM will eventually work with each other again either before or after the next general election.

Azmi Hassan, formerly of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said he did not believe Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was issuing an ultimatum with his recent letter to Muhyiddin Yassin, which said Umno would not cooperate with PPBM for the 15th general election and that it would work with the Perikatan Nasional government only until the dissolution of Parliament.

Azmi told FMT it appeared to him that the letter was more of a reminder to PPBM that it must meet Umno’s demands than a statement of finality.

Even if the two parties did not work together for GE15, he said, they could still decide to cooperate after the polls.

“If Umno goes solo and there’s a three-way fight, neither Perikatan Nasional (PN) nor Umno nor Pakatan Harapan (PH) will have a clear majority to form the government,” he said.

“I believe that after the GE15 results are out, there will be some horse trading among these three entities to see who can combine to form a government. Most probably, PN and Umno will form the government.”

Azmi said PPBM seemed to have no choice but to give in to Umno’s demands on seat allocations since Muhyiddin’s party lacks the grassroots support and slick election machinery that Zahid’s party has.

He said Muhyiddin needed to rethink PPBM’s strategies if there was an intention to work out an agreement with Umno before the dissolution of Parliament.

Neither party would want a three-way battle in GE15, he said.

“Pakatan Harapan would be the biggest benefactor in a three-cornered fight and the party that will lose the most will be PPBM or PAS. Some way or other, PPBM needs to avoid a three-way fight.”

Socio-political analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya told FMT he did not see a general election being held until Umno could get PPBM on board. The issue of traditional seats must be resolved first, he said.

“Umno wants to stand for at least 96 parliamentary seats, including the 55 it won in GE14,” he said. “This is to ensure that it is the dominant force in the government after the polls.”

He also said Zahid’s letter would see the more PPBM-friendly Umno leaders continuing with their effort to oust their party’s president.

The Umno polls are scheduled for this year.


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