PETALING JAYA: An independent political analyst says Nazri Aziz’s recent statement of support for incoming PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in Port Dickson could be an attempt to foil Umno’s relationship with PAS.
Kamarul Zaman Yusoff told FMT that Nazri, who is Padang Rengas MP, could be against Umno’s plans to collaborate with PAS after the May 9 polls.
The two opposition parties had openly expressed support for each other, joining each other’s campaigns in the recent Sungai Kandis and Seri Setia by-elections.
Kamarul noted that Nazri was now claiming there was “intention” from Umno to collaborate with PKR.
“He is indirectly casting doubts on Umno’s partner, PAS,” he said, citing the former tourism minister’s allegation that Umno MPs had signed a statutory declaration after May 9 allowing party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to negotiate with any other party in order to regain federal power.
This, along with Nazri’s stated support for Anwar in the upcoming Port Dickson by-election, has sparked talk of an attempt by Umno to return to government after losing to Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the 14th general election.
Nazri reportedly said he would campaign for Anwar in the Port Dickson by-election and that there was “some common thinking among Umno MPs” that they should show goodwill towards PKR.
However, other Umno MPs such as Bung Mohktar Radin and Reezal Naina Merican have dismissed Nazri’s claim.
“He (Nazri) thinks his overture to PKR may prompt PAS to rethink its collaboration with Umno,” Kamarul told FMT.
He added that Nazri, as someone who had no power in the party’s current top leadership, was trying to use the by-election to get Umno back on track.
He also questioned the truth of the plans for Zahid to negotiate with parties like PKR in order to strengthen Umno’s position. If there were indeed such plans, he added, Nazri may have spoiled them by announcing them in public.
Meanwhile, geostrategist Azmi Hassan said PKR did not need Umno to further strengthen itself as it now had the most number of Cabinet members.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Agus Yusoff likewise dismissed Nazri’s statement.
“It is just his personal opinion. It will not have any effect on PH parties,” he said.
Anwar is expected to make a comeback to the Dewan Rakyat after a lapse of three years with this Port Dickson by-election. He was disqualified in 2015 after being sentenced to five years’ jail in the Sodomy 2 case.
He was granted a royal pardon after the May 9 polls and is now eligible to run for Parliament again.