PETALING JAYA,Mar 16: Talk of a new political alignment between Umno and PKR is being seen as proof that there are no permanent enemies in politics, while some political analysts believe Umno grassroot members may not accept such a union.
Political strategist Syed Arabi Idid said PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim has to overcome several public perceptions of him, following his claims in September last year of having majority support in the Dewan Rakyat and being able to form a government.
“People may think Anwar is making claims again, this time to stop MPs of his party from crossing to Perikatan Nasional.
However, if Anwar were to be seen with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, then he could be viewed as having tangible support, says Syed Arabi.
However, he said Umno and PKR would need to agree on common ground acceptable to Umno’s grassroots. “Once the leaders agree on a common ground, they should then refer it to the grassroots,” he added.
In September last year, Zahid had told Umno MPs that he would not bar them from supporting Anwar as prime minister.
This was said after Anwar claimed he had a strong majority to form a new government, seven months after Perikatan Nasional took over Putrajaya. Anwar had said MPs from various parties unhappy with the existing leadership had approached him.
However, political analyst Awang Azman Pawi told FMT that there are no permanent enemies in politics as shown by Dr Mahathir Mohamad working with DAP and PKR. “Why can’t Umno work with PKR?,” he said.
After all, PAS used to describe Umno members as “kafir” (infidel) but were now “in bed” with Umno through Muafakat Nasional. PAS had also cooperated with DAP in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, he added.
Another political analyst, Azmi Hassan, said Umno leaders Najib Razak and Zahid may have agreed to the tie-up with PKR, and it remained to be seen if other Umno members would agree as PKR was a partner of DAP in Pakatan Harapan.
“There is the DAP factor to consider. Umno grassroots will not agree. It is too deep rooted within Umno not to cooperate with DAP,” he said.
Azmi added that DAP may want to work with Umno after the events that lead to the fall of Perak PPBM. “Perak DAP now know that they can work with Umno on certain matters,” he said
However, Azmi predicts Umno and PKR cooperation may not work due to grassroots objection towards DAP, causing Umno to finally shake hands with PPBM and PAS after ironing out seat allocations for GE15.
Recently, three PKR members – Julau MP Larry Sng, Steven Choong (Tebrau) and Xavier Jayakumar (Kuala Langat) – left the party and announced their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.