KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 ― Even as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dropped the bomb that there are steps towards a possible cooperation between PKR and Umno, several sources within Pakatan Harapan (PH) said no such serious discussion has been made at the top level.
However, they told Malay Mail that some “unofficial” meetings with other parties outside the pact have already been held, and PKR’s partners may even follow Anwar to offer an olive branch towards former enemies Umno should it bring boon towards PH.
“DAP and Parti Amanah Negara will follow and support the cooperation if it would bring benefit to PH as a whole.
“However, the parties wanted proof that Anwar would be able to bring out the support first from their traditional arch rival,” said one anonymous insider privy to the interactions with outside parties.
Another leader from one of the component parties also downplayed the advances made towards Umno, saying it is normal for PH parties to gather their own strength in preparation for the next general election.
The leader, who refused to be named, gave examples of cooperation and discussions outside of PH, including with other Oppositions and even parties who are currently allied to the Perikatan Nasional government.
“The parties in PH are in the midst of strengthening their respective parties, so discussions with lawmakers from other parties are being done,” added another party leader from DAP.
“The cooperation between PKR and Umno will not mean anything if there is no black-and-white yet, so it should not be a concern for other allies in PH.”
Another source from the same party confirmed the matter, saying that DAP is open to any cooperation should it benefit PH.
“If it would help PH to win the 15th general election, the other parties in PH would follow, however there are still few caveats and conditions that needed to be agreed upon.
“If there is no agreement, then PH might end up weaker than before,” said the source.
Malay Mail also understands that DAP may be open to the idea as Umno has strength especially in the rural Malay-dominated areas, where PH had struggled to make any impact until the emergence of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in the last general election.
However Bersatu, who originally only won 13 seats in the 2018 general election was strengthened when another 13 MPs from Umno jumped to join the parties throughout 2018.
Formerly part of PH, Bersatu left the pact when it managed to ally with Umno and PAS, later forming the Perikatan Nasional government.
“This shows how strong Umno as a party is. If agreements can be made and with people being taken care of, it will bring benefit to PH and the country,” another PH insider told Malay Mail.
Yesterday, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dismissed questions about a potential partnership with Umno for the 15th general election, saying talks in this direction were still at a very early stage.
Meanwhile, Umno information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan said his party is still maintaining its decision to reject any cooperation with PH components PKR and DAP.
Umno is still nominally part of the ruling PN government but has informed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Bersatu that their informal partnership will end once the general election is called
This comes as on Sunday, Anwar said PKR and rivals Umno are not that different ideologically, that the two camps are fundamentally striving for the same goals amid talks that the two parties could potentially align.
Anwar said PKR and rivals Umno are not that different ideologically, telling a Malay daily that the two camps are fundamentally striving for the same goals amid talks that the two parties could potentially align.
Several Opposition MPs have since come out with two statements chastising Anwar to focus on galvanising the bloc instead of making overtures to political rivals with questionable credentials, and that time has been wasted in arguing who should be prime minister.
These MPs include Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman, Liew Chin Tong, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Baru Bian, Maria Chin Abdullah, Ramkarpal Singh, Darell Leiking, and Hannah Yeoh.
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