‘DAP does not need Umno’s support for upcoming state polls’

The upcoming state elections in Malaysia will serve as a referendum on the evolution of the relationship between DAP and Umno.

Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk said that while talk has been rife on the need for Umno to support DAP in the state polls or risk losing power, such discussions are “immaterial”.

“DAP and Umno are competing in different constituencies. Umno’s main competitor is not DAP, said Azeem Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director.

“DAP will contest in majority Chinese or mixed seats, especially in urban areas, including Klang Valley.

“DAP does not need Umno’s support as the latter’s battlefield has always been the Malay heartlands,” he said.

Azeem said DAP would continue to get the majority support in Penang, but it will be a different ball game in Selangor, as there are quite a few Malay majority seats in the state.

“While it is still an open question as to how DAP supporters would react to the Umno-DAP relationship in the state polls, I doubt we will see a reduction in the number of votes for DAP.

“Of course, there would be non-partisan voters who would do some soul-searching, as DAP and Umno have been rivals since the formation of Malaysia.

“Inevitably, however, research abroad has proven that partisan voters will always support their party, in this case, DAP,” said Azeem.

Azeem said what is more interesting to keep tabs on would be how DAP and Umno plan to take their relationship after the state elections.

“DAP has been critical of Umno, predominantly due to scandals like the 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd).

“PKR and DAP had previously attacked Barisan Nasional (BN) on the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal as well,” said Azeem.

“But now both are in government. How DAP intends to move forward with Umno is unclear.”

He added that both political parties were “sailing on uncharted territories”.

Umno leads the BN coalition that includes MCA and MIC.

MCA, the Chinese-dominant party in the coalition that has lost much support and relevance in the Malaysian political sphere, has been critical of DAP as some of its leaders, including vice president Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker, continue to attack DAP leaders.

“How will their relationship evolve? Will there be some institutionalisation whether they plan to work in the future? Hopefully, there will be answers to these questions at the upcoming state elections,” Azeem added.

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