PETALING JAYA: PPBM chief strategist Rais Hussin today dismissed concerns over a PAS-Umno alliance, comparing the parties to oil and water which would never mix.
For years, he said, Umno and PAS had not been able to “gel”.
“If you go to the eastern corridor in Kelantan and Terengganu, they (PAS and Umno members) don’t get married to each other, they don’t attend each other’s funerals, they don’t even pray for one another.
“This fracture has been there for far too long. Ideologically, they are also different: PAS is conservative on religious matters while Umno is conservative over ethnic issues.
“But even if they want to get together, let them be. They used to have the mainstream media shaping the people’s minds – it isn’t the same today,” he said when met after the signing of a memorandum of agreement at the One World Hotel today.
Rais, who is also president of Emir Research, signed the agreement with the Australian Council for Educational Research to collaborate on programmes and initiatives on international best practices in the development of education in Malaysia and the Asean region.
He was responding to a statement by his party president Muhyiddin Yassin, who said last week that an Umno-PAS collaboration posed no threat to Pakatan Harapan (PH).
When asked if PH had any reason to worry about Umno which had secured many seats in the Malay heartlands, Rais said the coalition was strong and did not need to be concerned over Umno and PAS.
He said Umno had managed to secure the seats thanks to years of gerrymandering by Barisan Nasional (BN).
For many years, he said, the party had utilised race and religion in its political campaign.
“It also created patronage politics, where it was the best at multilevel marketing in the world of politics.”
He said Umno had worked according to a “pyramid scheme”, creating a feudal patronage system.
But now, he added, the people were beginning to see that PH was delivering its promises and doing things which were right, not because it was convenient.
“PH does not want to create another feudal system where people operate in a ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ manner.
“We understand that if you talk about the Malay heartlands, we need to work much harder to help the people realise what we can do for them. We are working very hard, establishing branches and training people,” he said.
Rais said the recent by-elections in Sungai Kandis and Seri Setia were examples of a “failed” Umno-PAS collaboration.
“Despite so much money and energy spent, and top leaders coming out, the Malays still voted for PH.
“If I were Umno, I’d take a backseat,” he added. “I would study where Umno went wrong, reassess, and then make a comeback.”
He urged the people to be patient with PH, saying the country had been left “in a very bad state”.
“In our manifesto, we gave five years to deliver our promises. We took over the country based on certain expectations, but the numbers were not there. Everything was haywire.
“(But) of course we won’t take up five years,” he said, adding that PH had already fulfilled six of its 10 100-day promises.