Fear of DAP fuels Pakatan Nasional, fear of Dr M fuels critics

PETALING JAYA: With talk of a new goverment being formed under the Pakatan Nasional banner, two political analysts have differing views whether it will come about.

The rumoured new coalition, centred on keeping Dr Mahathir Mohamad in power, would dash the hopes of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim taking over as prime minister.

The proposal for the new coalition would entail PPBM teaming up with PAS and Umno.

Last month, FMT reported that private meetings between Mahathir and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang might foreshadow the re-entry of PAS into federal power, which might sideline the DAP and Anwar.

However, to political analyst Azmi Hassan, there is little hope of the new coalition becoming reality because some in Umno would not be willing to work with PPBM and Mahathir, who is chairman of the party and of Pakatan Harapan.

On the other hand, political scientist James Chin says “Pakatan Nasional is feasible because of two aims: to get rid of DAP in the government, and to stop Anwar from getting the prime minister’s post”.

Azmi said Mahathir is seen to be the “main culprit” who had ousted Umno and Barisan Nasional from Putrajaya, and the proposed new coalition went against the very reason that Malaysians had voted for Pakatan Harapan in 2018.

“Yes, the new Pakatan Nasional looks very enticing, especially for the Malays but to form a government you need the support of all. I don’t see this getting off the ground even though Pakatan Nasional is being portrayed as the alternative to Pakatan Harapan,” he told FMT.

The proposed coalition could only work with Umno as the more dominant party over Mahathir’s PPBM – but “as of now, with Mahathir at the helm, I don’t see any way Umno can outwit PPBM”, Azmi said.

James Chin, however, said PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was “obsessed” with ensuring that the DAP is ousted from government, allowing the formation of a government ruled by Muslims.

Chin said Anwar’s numerous attempts to become prime minister had all failed, until the Pakatan Harapan victory of 2018 revived his hopes.

“Despite what people say about Anwar’s political abilities, it was Mahathir who was the crucial peg in Malaysia’s first regime change,” Chin said.

He said a Pakatan Nasional government would obtain support from Malay voters, particularly in rural areas, while the English-speaking middle and upper classes would lose out the most.

He said the urban push for reforms had dismayed the rural Malay electorate and provided ammunition to the right-wing Malay groups.

“A majority of Muslims, especially rural Malays, would support this (Pakatan Nasional) proposal because of the propaganda that DAP is too powerful and that the Chinese are controlling the government.”

The possibility of a new coalition was raised by senior Umno member Lokman Noor Adam earlier this week, who accused party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of supporting the plan in a bid to avoid trial on corruption charges.

PAS president Hadi has said the party was open to the formation of a “Pakatan Nasional” government although Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa dismissed it as merely speculative in nature.

Various PH leaders agree with PKR president Anwar saying it is just “propaganda” played up by the opposition.

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