Malaysia: MCA, MIC stuck with Umno-PAS pact

  • Now that PAS and Umno have formalised their political cooperation at the Islamist party’s annual congress on 22 Jun 19, does this change anything for Umno’s partners MCA and MIC?
  • The pact has not prompted the ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indian components of Barisan Nasional to leave the coalition that has shrunk to three parties.
  • MIC chairman S. Vigneswaran said Umno’s, and by extension BN’s cooperation with PAS, is not necessarily a bad thing because of the support the Islamist party received in the 14th general election, even if Pakatan Harapan managed to form the federal government.
  • Vigneswaran also referred to the time PAS was together with DAP and PKR in the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat coalition. PAS was able to draw support from Chinese and other non-Muslim voters, he said, and this spoke of its ability to cooperate with non-Muslim parties.
  • He noted how PAS “helped” DAP win more parliamentary seats when both were allies under PR. In the 2008 general election, DAP won 28 federal seats, up from 12 in the 2004 elections.
  • He added that PAS’ help was effective for BN in the Cameron Highlands, Rantau and Semenyih by-elections in 2019, where the Islamist party cooperated with Umno.
  • For MCA, its vice-president Ti Lian Ker said the ethnic Chinese party would play a “check and balance” role in the Umno-PAS alliance.
  • MCA, in the past, has faced flak for not taking a tougher stance against Umno’s Malay supremacist agenda, but Ti said there was no need to take a fighting stance against PAS. It is more democratic to allow differences of opinion in attempts to reach a consensus, he said.
  • Ti also said MCA was in a mirror situation with DAP in Pakatan Harapan. This was because the Malay-Muslim parties in PH, Bersatu and Amanah, are focused on the Malay agenda which is no different from PAS and Umno.

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