PETALING JAYA: The charter signed between Umno and PAS, formalising the cooperation between the country’s two largest Malay Muslim parties, is “moderate” in nature, despite initial fears it would have extreme leanings, a political analyst said.
Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the charter, in fact, was based on the spirit of the Federal Constitution.
“It was not too focused on Islam. Contrary to claims the union (between PAS and Umno) posed a threat to Malaysia’s multiracial community, the charter took a central right approach.
“It was neither too left nor right,” he told FMT.
Awang Azman described the left as being linked to socialism and progressivism, while the right equated with capitalism and conservatism.
He said he found the moderate approach taken by the two parties as surprising as many feared their alliance would impact race relations.
The national unity charter – Piagam Muafakat Nasional – signed by the PAS and Umno presidents yesterday seeks to uphold the interest of the Malays, Islam as the official religion, and Malay as the national language.
It vows to restore the confidence of the people in the “leadership of Islam, the Malays and the Bumiputeras”.
Awang Azman also said it was clear that the PAS-Umno alliance was meant to take on Pakatan Harapan and not challenge the non-Malays.
The two parties, he said, were aware that apart from issues related to the Malay community, voters were also unhappy with the ruling coalition, especially when it came to education and the civil service.
“They are offering an alternative to the rakyat,” he said.
He also saw the charter as a re-branding of the opposition brand whose narrative will revolve around the people’s dissatisfaction with Putrajaya.
However, he said the two parties will push youth leaders to the fore, while Umno needs to address the infighting.
Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Azmi Hassan says the alliance will put PH under pressure, especially its two components PPBM and Amanah, which are tasked with wooing the Malay electorate.
He cited the increasing support for the opposition in the recent by-elections at Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau.
He said PH has failed to win the support of the Malays despite being in power for over a year.