KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak risks losing support from Sabah and Sarawak with his wooing of PAS, according to veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin.
“Remember, the majority of the people in the two Borneo states are Christians and they may not cherish sharing the bed with PAS,” Kadir said in his latest blog entry.
“Even the Muslim majority parties in the two states might not be too enthusiastic about the prospect of an Umno-PAS hegemony. They are more likely to be at ease with Amanah, the newly formed PAS splinter party.”
With the Sarawak state election around the corner, Kadir questioned whether Najib would risk losing the state to the opposition.
“He may be deeply in love with PAS, but the fallout with Sarawak would be costly.
“Already, he is facing demands for greater autonomy and higher oil and gas royalties from the two states. To buttress his power base, he appointed a disproportionately high number of ministers from Sarawak and Sabah, many of whom are neither Malay nor Muslim.”
Kadir also pointed out that the non-Malay Barisan Nasional partners had indicated their unhappiness over Umno’s overtures to PAS.
“When he talks about Malay unity and Islam, he frightens his own BN partners.
“An Umno-PAS remarriage could spell more problems for the non-Malay parties of BN. Former MCA president Chua Soi Lek warned in his blog that any cooperation between PAS and Umno would sideline non-Muslim BN parties from mainstream politics.”
Nevertheless, Kadir said, getting PAS to agree to a union with Umno would not be as easy as Najib might think.
“Would PAS be prepared to hop onto his sinking Bugis pinisi?” he asked. “Abdul Hadi Awang and Harun Din may want the alliance, but the grassroots may not share their enthusiasm.
“Malay support for Umno/BN stands at 30% and Chinese support at 5%. So it is unlikely that PAS supporters would want to join a weak coalition.
“A rift appears to have developed in PAS, with its Deputy President Tuan Ibrahim Man leading the dissenting voice.”
Kadir believes that Najib’s political reading has been “woefully misguided”.