Umno and PAS have worked together when the latter joined BN in the 1970s. Mustafa Ali was even a former deputy minister of the coalition government as far back as 1977.
Prior to the May 9 general election last year, Umno and PAS tried to work together again. This time through the process of splitting the votes of Pakatan Harapan. At the state level, PAS fielded close to 555 candidates in the 14th general election.
The ease with which PAS could allegedly lean on Umno then even if these candidates ran the risk of losing all their money, must have whetted the party’s appetite once again.
Now they want to form a pact with Umno. We’ll see if they can get all their candidates, be they parliamentary or state assembly candidates, to be bankrolled by Umno.
At RM10,000 per candidate, that comes to hundreds of millions, which PAS itself cannot afford – especially if most of these deposits are burned when candidates cannot cross the threshold of a minimal percentage.
PAS, in other words, loves to stand in elections. It also loves to preach about the ‘evils’ of Harapan.
It boggles the mind why PAS sees Harapan as ‘evil’ reincarnate, when PAS was once a key partner of Pakatan Rakyat, especially prior to the unfortunate demise of the well respected Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
But the pact of Umno and PAS could well suffer a serious setback. After all, the monies and funds of Umno have been frozen. Umno even has to resort to crowdfunding to keep itself going.
There is no telling how much Umno can raise through these unconventional methods. After all, there are Malay far-right factions that want to see the return of Umno.
However, if and when Umno can potentially raise half a billion – a wild figure, nonetheless one that is deserving of careful consideration, as allegedly Umno has secret assets and funds which could be unlocked if they are brought back to Malaysia – the funds would not be shared with PAS again in an overly generous manner.
Umno would need it for itself.
This alone would tie their strategic relationships in knots almost as soon as they begin in September 2019.
Thus PAS and Umno can talk all they want about a pact, but they are like a pack of wolves that will fight over the size of the electoral dowry.
Dr. Rais Hussin is President & CEO of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on data-driven policy research, centered around principles of Engagement, Moderation, Innovation and Rigour.