By John Isaac
A PARTNERSHIP between Umno and DAP, if it comes about, could go a long way to cleanse the toxic political arena and help improve ethnic relationships. But such a tie-up is unlikely to happen, according to a former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia academic.
Talk of such a partnership may just be a “wayang” (charade), says another political scientist, James Chin.
A tie-up between Umno and PKR as well as DAP had been mooted by Johor Umno deputy chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed recently. He said it “may not be a bad idea” because of the need for a more multiracial government.
Azmi Hassan, formerly of UTM, said an administration dominated by one race was not good for the country.
Collaboration between Umno and DAP, being the parties representing the rural and urban constituencies, and the Malay and Chinese communities respectively, would result in race taking a backseat and policies taking centre stage.
“But judging by the recent Perak political crisis, a collaboration between the two is unlikely to happen any time soon, as Umno opted to work with PPBM and PAS, and the plan to work with Pakatan Harapan fizzled out,” Azmi said.
He added the grassroots of both Umno and DAP had strong feelings about their parties working together.
An Umno and PKR tie-up was more likely. “Then again, if PAS allies themselves with DAP in Pakatan Rakyat, anything is possible.”
However, Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute was less optimistic, ruling out any possibility that Umno and DAP could actually work together.
“I think this is all ‘wayang’ (a charade). I believe Umno doesn’t want to be with but wants to dominate Perikatan Nasional and by saying they have options, Umno is trying to put pressure on PPBM.
“It is unlikely that Umno will work with PH because some in the party cannot accept Anwar (Ibrahim), and perhaps more cannot accept DAP.”
He too said the grassroots of both parties would not like the idea, and that Umno’s Malay-centric struggle would clash with DAP’s “Malaysian Malaysia” ideology.
“A tie-up will not benefit either party as they are not compatible, you will end up having a dysfunctional government. Essentially, this is what happened in the PH-administration as PPBM and Umno share the same DNA.”
This article first appeared in Free Malaysia Today