New Malay alliance not Borneo’s cup of tea, says analyst

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man addressing the audience during the unity gathering last night at PWTC. In attendance was Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan (seated, third from right).

KOTA KINABALU: A political analyst has dismissed the possibility of any Borneo-based opposition party rushing to join the alliance that PAS and Umno are expected to formalise today.

Tony Paridi Bagang of Sabah Universiti Teknologi Mara told FMT the overriding concern of the opposition in Sabah and Sarawak was the rights of the two states and he said this did not seem to be a priority for Umno and PAS.

Speaking of Sabah, he said the opposition parties there would place their ears close to the ground to find out voters’ reactions to the forging of the new pact in full awareness that there would now be an additional political option.

“Sabahans may want to hear and see what would be the offers that PAS and Umno can give to Sabah,” he said.

“But It would be a challenge for the new pact to attract the non-Muslim Bumiputeras, especially the Kadazandusun Murut communities.”

He said it was obvious that Umno and PAS would focus on winning support from Malay voters through the formalisation of their relationship.

“The aim of uniting the Malays is long over due,” he said. “Umno and PAS have implied they are willing to put aside their political differences to forge this pact.

“The political reality that is based on race is here to stay and the role of political Islam remains significant in Malaysian politics.”

Tony Paridi Bagang.

Bagang said there was nevertheless a possibility that PAS and Umno would eventually form a loose strategic partnership with opposition coalition Gabungan Bersatu Sabah, “but just for the sake of having a political partner across the sea”.

He also said the inking of the PAS-Umno pact might inspire Sabah and Sarawak parties to form a Borneo bloc.