Malaysia

Despite Pakatan’s offer, slim chance of unity government talks


August 30, 2013
Latest Update: August 31, 2013 07:12 am

NEWS ANALYSIS Like clockwork, Khairy Jamaluddin (pic) has to oppose anything that is suggested by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and denigrate him at every opportunity.

Why? Because the Umno Youth leader will forever have to live down his folly of going personally to Anwar's residence to hand him his passport after the latter's acquittal by the Federal Court.

Since that day, the son-in-law of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has had to convince his many doubters in Umno that he is not an ally of Anwar and actually despises him.  So his default position is to slam Anwar, and slam him hard, and hope that more of his party men are convinced that his visit to Anwar's home was merely a rush of blood by a young politician keen to show off his influence in the Abdullah administration.

So today he said that Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) decision to accept the GE13 results and statement that it was open to unity talks with BN as a desperate move brought about by its failure to win election petitions.

Expect Khairy to move even more to the right in the weeks ahead as he tries to shore up his position before the Umno elections.

But truth be told, not many Umno politicians are going to be jumping for joy at the possibility of unity talks between PR and Barisan Nasional (BN). Indeed, even the idea of a rapprochement between the two political enemies will be too much to accept for some.

Among those who will oppose or be lukewarm to the idea of unity talks are:

* Umno veterans such as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Any idea of allowing his nemesis Anwar into government will be a definite no-no for the former long-serving prime minister. In the run-up to the general elections, Anwar trained his guns on Mahathir's pockmarked legacy and also questioned the source of his children's wealth.

* Many Umno ministers and MPs. In the eyes of many Umno politicians, the ruling party did well in the polls, winning 88 parliamentary seats. So why share power or even discuss peace terms with the losing party?

The average Umno politician has little concern about the worsening race relations and the surge in right-wing rhetoric, or even if the economic is stuttering. The only concern he has is the party elections in October.

The more robust and dismissive he is of the Opposition, the more popular is he going to be with the party delegates.

* Utusan Malaysia and groups aligned to Umno like Perkasa.

The Malay-language newspaper and Perkasa will be flirting with irrelevance if the political temperature in the country drops and if their favourite target of attack becomes BN's new best friend.

Given the powerful individuals and groups who will be working overtime to kill any rapprochement between BN and PR, hard to see how anything substantial can come from any unity talks. - August 30, 2013.