KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and PAS have already started discussions about contesting several Umno-held seats at the 15th General Election (GE15).
Several sources said the discussions — mostly informal and attended by state leaders — indicate that both parties are laying the groundwork for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) election machinery while completely alienating Umno.
“Discussions (to contest Umno seats) have been going on for some time, but no official meeting has been held about the decisions yet,” a PN source told Malay Mail.
On February 25, PN Information chief Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali started the ball rolling for the setting up of election structures at state levels.
The source added that this “preparation” is due to Umno’s decision in March not to co-operate further with Bersatu.
“Bersatu and PAS take this as a ‘blessing’ and have already started work on contesting Umno seats,” said a source.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said on April 10 that his party is only engaging in seat discussions with Bersatu while negotiations with Umno have temporarily been suspended.
In Mingguan Malaysia the day after, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the discussion between PAS and Bersatu was not agreed to by Muafakat Nasional, the political alliance set up by PAS and Umno on September 2019.
Bersatu and PAS are adamant in rejecting any form of “new alignment” involving Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies post-GE15.
In a joint statement, they said the decision was made during a meeting between Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Abdul Hadi in March.
Ahmad Zahid is said to be “open to co-operate” with Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties in a move that would upset both PN and BN supporters.
Zahid is also currently facing backlash over a purported leaked phone conversation with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after the Umno general assembly.
The four-minute audio clip was first posted on Facebook and started with Zahid’s speech during the recent Umno general assembly, in which he said the party would not accept Anwar, DAP or Bersatu as allies.
It was followed by the phone conversation, with the speaker who sounded like Anwar praising the other for the speech.
Zahid has since called the call a fake and an attempt to weaken and destroy Umno, while Anwar has also rejected the audio recording, similarly calling it fake and slanderous.
Both men are known to have been friends long ago in Umno but became estranged following Anwar’s sacking from the party and the government in the late 1990s.
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