The Umno and PAS tie-up: Good tactics, bad strategy?

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On Sept 14, the leaders of Malaysia's two largest opposition parties, Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), signed a cooperation pact. Beyond pledges to uphold the country's Constitution and protect issues key to Malays and Muslims, the compact centres on the two parties agreeing to field common candidates in upcoming electoral contests.

This tie-up between these uneasy bedfellows is based on the fact that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) ruling coalition garnered only an estimated 25 per cent of the Malay vote in last year's general election. The leaders of these two Malay parties have done their maths, calculating that they can secure a parliamentary majority in the next general election if people vote the same way they did in GE14.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2019, with the headline The Umno and PAS tie-up: Good tactics, bad strategy?. Subscribe