When I was growing up, I went to see the movie “None but the Brave” starring Frank Sinatra, about some American and Japanese soldiers coming to a truce while stranded on a small island in the Pacific during World War 2.
The gist of the story was the question of whether they could deal with the distrust, suspicion, manoeuvres, tension and hatred for each other as they were sworn enemies. Sounds familiar?
Umno and PAS were once sworn enemies. It got so bad that the unforgettable “Amanat Hadi Awang” declared that Umno were kafirs (infidels). Both sides maintained their disdain and mistrust of each other until they both ended up in the opposition while Pakatan Harapan were in power and declared a truce to establish Muafakat Nasional (MN).
The agreement was designed to principally capture the Malay votes at the 15th general election. The idea was to take PH head-on thereby making it possible for Umno and PAS to form the new government.
After all at GE14, Malay support was overwhelmingly in favour of the two parties compared to Malay support for PH. Subsequent by-elections in any case pointed in that direction.
Then came the opportunity for both parties to be in government when the Perikatan Nasional-led government was formed. Their objective had been achieved even without going into battle with PH, and they have been in power three years ahead of schedule, because of the infamous Sheraton Move.
But the truce has now come to an end with Umno openly stating that their support for the PN government (which includes PAS leaders) ends the moment Parliament is dissolved for GE15.
So who is likely to be the brave one as in none but the brave?
Umno has sounded their intention of doing battle with Bersatu in all the Malay seats; if PAS abandons MN, Umno could also face PAS in GE15. Umno has declared that they are prepared to go it alone although they are the mainstay of Barisan Nasional.
To show how serious they are, this matter was brought up at their recently completed AGM where a resolution was overwhelmingly passed to withdraw support for the government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin the moment Parliament is dissolved.
The face off would then begin. Some Umno leaders have also given PAS an ultimatum: they are either with Umno or against Umno come GE15. That’s bravery all right.
However, could Hadi and PAS fit the role of the one? Almost certainly so, because Hadi has told Umno in no uncertain terms to vamoose. PAS is sticking with Muhyiddin and the PN government. On April 2, Hadi rejected MN and called on all other parties to support the new alliance.
What about Bersatu and Muhyiddin? Are they best suited? Looks like it because on March 27 Muhyiddin declared that Bersatu will also go for all the seats Umno intends to contest in. Muhyiddin meant business.
Only a brave person will put money on who will come out a clear winner. It is a fight mainly for the Malay votes which is likely to see three-way tussles. There will be a more subdued fight for non-Malay votes as the battle lines there are more distinct.
Sabah and Sarawak could have a say on which government stays or goes: the combined strength of their MPs mean they are in line to be kingmakers.
Whatever the outcome, it might well last only for a fleeting moment; an enormous amount of horse-trading will almost certainly take place. And it will be none but the brave that will not sell their principles and souls to the devil.
By : Clement Stanley – FMT
*The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Stringer.