Chinese voters getting the PAS symbol painted on their faces in Kluang, Johor, on Saturday morning. The Islamist party's willingness to allow its ally DAP to use the PAS logo represents a shift in Malaysian politics.
(ST) - The matter showed how quickly the Chinese-based DAP and its Islamist partner PAS had closed ranks, despite big differences in ideologies.
TERESA Teng's song - The Moon Represents My Heart - is a perennial favourite of Malaysia's Democratic Action Party (DAP).
The evergreen hit took on a deeper meaning last week when the DAP declared that it was prepared to run in the general election using the full moon logo of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), its partner in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance.
Even though the rejection of nomination papers filed by DAP candidates using the party's own rocket symbol did not happen on Nomination Day on Saturday, the Islamist party's willingness to quickly allow its ally to use the PAS logo represents a big shift in Malaysian politics, akin to, well, sending a rocket to the moon.
There were scenes of Chinese men whose cheeks were painted with PAS' flag of a white moon on a green background in Johor on Saturday. And Malays in Muslim skull caps holding up DAP flags.
"This is an unexpected twist in the general election which is certainly benefiting the opposition. But it will also be a positive development for Malaysian politics overall," said Mr Yang Razali Kassim, senior fellow with the S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
"The opposition has been energised as a more cohesive and unified coalition, driving Malaysian politics further down the road of a two-coalition system," he added.
For the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN), what is happening might hurt the ruling coalition.
It had been easy in the past to use DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang as a "Chinese chauvinist" bogeyman to scare off Malay voters, and the turbaned PAS president Hadi Awang to stop Chinese voters from backing a party with plans to implement strict Islamic laws.
"This could be bad for Umno because how do you attack Lim Kit Siang as anti-Islam if he is using the PAS logo?" said Mr Ramli Yunus, an Umno division secretary in Kedah.
Read more at: http://www.stasiareport.com/the-big-story/asia-report/malaysia-elections/opinion-blogs/story/opposition-parties-singing-same-tun