Monday, June 22, 2009

PAS & Malay Unity

By Syed Akbar Ali

Has anyone noticed how Nasharudin Mat Isa the PAS deputy president is keeping really quiet over Nik Aziz’s outbursts? The reason is because Hadi Awang is not in town. Some folks say Hadi is in London meeting some characters from the international Islamic netherworld. I think Hadi is the netherworld.

Well Nasharudin is Hadi’s sidekick. So the sidekick wont talk until the Boss comes back, which is Monday or Tuesday.

The first thing that comes to mind is why now? The Pakatan has won five states (and now lost one again), curbed the BN’s 2/3 control of Parliament and has won five By Elections in a row. The Pakatan seems invincible. Or is it?

In three states Penang, Perak and Selangor, PAS has seen the strong arm of the DAP (a Godless party) and the PKR (a secular party) totally sidelining PAS. Even in Kedah PAS is really not the power on the ground. Kedah will most likely swing back to the BN in the next round. But in Perak and Penang, PAS is and will be of no significance. It is the DAP that calls the shots in these two States. The same applies for PAS in Selangor.

The Bukit Gantang By Elections in Taiping saw the Malay vote swinging back to UMNO. PAS acknowledged that they received less votes from the Malays. It was the Chinese vote that swung the election in Pakatan’s favour.

PAS is preparing for the next General Elections. They want the Malay votes to swing to them again, including fence sitters and UMNO supporters. If PAS is seen as cooperating with UMNO, UMNO members who are still disillusioned with the party who DID NOT vote in the last GE or who spoilt their votes on purpose, may just throw in their support to PAS.

It is the dream of many confused people on both sides to see UMNO leaders stand in prayer behind Nik Aziz or Hadi Awang, who they are convinced are religious scholars and pious people. Both are just politicians seeking to make a quick buck along the way. But PAS has an eye on these folks too.

What will PAS want from the unity talks? Certainly positions and power. What else? They will ask for Cabinet positions for their leaders. This is where Nasharudin sees his chance of serving in the Cabinet. Hadi may want nothing less than DPM. Will UMNO agree? How far can UMNO agree? What about the BN components? Will they agree?

What if the BN components do not agree? Will they pull out of the BN? And do what? Join the Pakatan? But PAS would have already teamed up with UMNO. Mana ada Pakatan lagi?

What if the BN components swallow their pride and agree for PAS to form a unity Government? Business as usual?

But that may lead to other complications. Come the next GE, will PAS agree to give up certain seats in favour of UMNO? Well why not? If it is a unity Government there must be a give and take. UMNO too may have to agree to make sacrifices here.

My view is that PAS wants to preserve itself because they are afraid of the outcome of the Anwar Ibrahim trial. What if, what if Anwar is found guilty? Not only that what if the evidence is too damning and politically too embarrassing? Such a trial may cost the whole Pakatan much credibility.

All UMNO has to do is turn the economy around (its happening – slowly but quite surely) and move more projects, cut down on the corruption and the fortunes may turn around by 2012 or 2013.

The Malay vote will swing back to UMNO/BN. I believe PAS can see the writing on the wall. Hence their offer of an olive branch. Perhaps they will ask UMNO to let them keep Kelantan, Kedah and maybe Terengganu (in the next GE). Then Hadi can play MB again, Nasharudin too can be MB of Kedah and Kelantan can remain with PAS.

Or PAS may use delaying tactics and insist on drawn out negotiations to implement hudud, religious laws etc. To look good to their conventional support base. Then when UMNO refuses, they will play the ‘We tried but UMNO is kaffir’ broken record again. That will score them points with the simple folks (and tarnish UMNO at the same time).

There is one more threat facing the Pakatan. If Anwar is convicted, PKR will become a headless chicken. Floating without any direction. UMNO may just extend an olive branch to Malay PKR members, who are mostly ex UMNO anyway. They may return to UMNO in droves. This too will see the end of the Pakatan.

Finally the DAP will be left alone to fend for itself. There will be no more Pakatan. There never was anyway. There can be no such thing. It was just a marriage of convenience. An illicit relationship with plenty of buggery thrown in too.

Given a choice between an ular and the "ular-mas" of PAS I prefer the ular anyday. You can never trust these religious folks.