Analyst sees Muafakat Nasional gaining ground

Under the Muafakat Nasional agreement inked last September, Umno and PAS pledged to uphold the interest of the Malays, Islam as the official religion, and Malay as the national language.

PETALING JAYA: A political analyst foresees a further blurring of the ideological line between Umno and PAS as Umno adopts a conservative Islamic approach and PAS expands its influence in the cities.

Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia said this would strengthen their Muafakat Nasional collaboration as well as their positions in Perikatan Nasional.

“It is becoming harder to differentiate one from the other with Umno using a conservative Islamic approach and PAS trying to be more nationalistic,” he said.

Azizuddin told FMT he believed the two parties would have some success in increasing support for Muafakat Nasional in both rural and urban areas as well as among Malay youths.

He said Muafakat Nasional was more appealing to the Malays than Pakatan Harapan even in urban areas and among youths because urban Malays were becoming more devoted to Islam and Malay youths were comfortable with the idea of Islam as a political force.

These two groups would see the Umno-PAS collaboration as an entity that would promote Islamic principles, he added.

Referring to Umno, he said the party’s feudal culture was a mirror to traditional Malay culture and this still had appeal in rural areas.

He said the traditional culture’s demand that elders be respected was being translated in Umno into a prohibition of challenges to the roles of party leaders.

This would see warlords continuing to rule the party, he added.

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