PKR sources hint Umno talks aimed at taking back 'Bersatu' seats

Zikri Kamarulzaman
·2-min read
PKR sources hint Umno talks aimed at taking back 'Bersatu' seats
PKR sources hint Umno talks aimed at taking back 'Bersatu' seats

PKR's unofficial talks with Umno have been shrouded in secrecy - with even Umno supreme council members Malaysiakini spoke to in the dark over what has been discussed.

While scarce details have led to rife speculation, several PKR sources have given hints as to one goal of the talks.

That is, to avoid clashes in constituencies currently held by Bersatu at the 15th general election (GE15).

"It's definitely to find a way not to clash (in Bersatu seats)," one PKR source told Malaysiakini. Two other party sources gave similar indications.

At present, 25 out of 31 Bersatu MPs either defected from Umno (15) or PKR (10). There are two other MPs who won their seats in 2018 under PKR but are now independents aligned to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Umno and PKR avoiding clashes in these seats would thus guarantee a better chance for them to recapture these constituencies and thus diminishing Bersatu's chances.

It is unclear if such a 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' deal could also extend to seats PKR and Umno currently hold, including those that the former seized from the latter in the last general election, such as Johor Bahru and Tangga Batu.

If it does, and if both parties win all the seats they won in 2018 prior to defections, PKR would have 47 seats, and Umno 53 seats.

No talks on GE15

There is one problem, however.

According to Pakatan Harapan sources, PKR's mandate to talk with Umno only covers cooperation to help the coalition retake Putrajaya now, not in the next general election.

"Harapan's stand to this day (on talks with Umno) is that it does not cover cooperation at the 15th general election," a Harapan source told Malaysiakini.

This was affirmed by Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub.

"For negotiations with other parties, the (Harapan presidential council's terms) is to restore the people's mandate, it doesn't cover GE15," he said when contacted.

However, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke indicated that if GE15 ends with no party having majority control, anything can happen.

"If the next GE does not create a clear winner, you have to think about how to form new partnerships, new coalition partners, and that can only come after GE," he had said.

The line in the sand for Loke, Salahuddin, and several other PKR allies in Harapan is that cooperation with Umno excludes "corrupt" leaders such as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

However, it is believed that this Umno group, labelled as the "court cluster", is the one PKR and its president Anwar Ibrahim have been engaging in talks with.