There has been some talk that Umno members will be joining PAS. Umno members, disgruntled by the antics of their leaders, may understandably want to leave their party but is PAS the best choice to join?
By joining PAS, Umno members will be making PAS a stronger party to wield greater influence in any government it forms and Umno members need to ask if that is good for their voters and country, and themselves.
A stronger PAS will get more votes in an election and increase their representation in a state or federal government, which may benefit the former Umno members and their supporters. PAS, alone, however, will not have the numbers to form a government except in Kelantan where it has a majority.
In other states, it can form a government only with Bersatu, its partner in Perikatan Nasional (PN), and if successful that PN government would become more conservative than the current PN governments of Perlis, Kedah, and Terengganu. These states would only lag behind the rest of the country and become more like Kelantan. Would that benefit the former Umno members and their supporters who have had a better life on Umno’s previous leaders’ development policies?
Evidences of a decline in development will not be seen now as the country is still grappling with political instability caused by governments that were formed not as a result of the due processes of parliamentary democracy but by the appointment of the constitutional monarch.
When parliamentary processes are strictly followed, political stability will return and the country will move forward. Any government with a strong PAS will only hold back on developing unless led by a strong leader. In the absence of such leaders, PAS will have a significant say and that may be an obstacle to the development of the country.
Umno members need to seriously consider if by joining PAS they will be contributing to a progressive future of this nation or aiding in retarding national development. They also need to know the repercussions of supporting PAS at the state level that will be felt at the national level.
With PAS’ avowed position of wanting to form an Islamic state, would the Sabah and Sarawak political parties, which are Christian-based or include a large Christian base of voters and form a majority of the bumiputras in East Malaysia, want to ally with PAS? Very unlikely, which means all those votes that went to PAS would go to waste as it would be excluded from the federal government.
The trend at the state level would trigger posturing and negotiations among political parties to seek alliances that include the majority of people groups at the national level. A stronger PAS may frighten off potential partners at the national level.
It would thus be better if Umno members delayed their decision to join PAS until after the state elections in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. The elections will reveal the actual preferences on the ground, and, especially if PAS’ wins in the last general election were a flash in the pan or an emerging trend.
Based on the results of the state elections, Umno members can decide the best options available to them. After witnessing everything that has happened to this country since 2020, the results will clearly show which parties and coalitions the people will reject and which they will support.