Najib likely to push for Malay unity at Umno assembly
He is expected to call for party to unite in move to woo opposition PAS
AFTER leading Umno to a stronger showing in the May elections and keeping his allies in power at party polls, Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to use this week's general assembly to call for the party to close ranks.
They will need to do so to tackle the next order of business: wooing the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) in so-called Malay unity talks, a touchy subject.
With non-Malay voters largely abandoning the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition, party conservatives feel that Umno should focus on corralling the Malay vote.
"The right wing of Umno wants to push for a stronger Malay coalition. So if the party feels it can work with PAS to achieve this, why not?" said Professor Faisal Hazis of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
Malaysia's Parliament 222 seats
PAS MPs 21
PKR MPs 30
DAP MPs 38
A PAS defection would cripple the opposition alliance and hand Barisan Nasional back its two-thirds parliamentary majority.