DAP will fight PAS lottery ban, warns Karpal

By Yow Hong Chieh, The Malaysian Insider

SEREMBAN, March 19 — Karpal Singh warned PAS last night that DAP will fight its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ally if it stands firm on the unconstitutional lottery ban in Kelantan.

In an apparent ultimatum, the DAP national chairman warned the Islamist party not to “play with the law” and to respect the rights of non-Malays in the state.

“Any attempt to go against the law [and] we will also go against PAS,” he told the 5,000-strong crowd at the DAP 45th anniversary dinner here.

The Kelantan PAS government has been heavily criticised by Chinese-based parties across the political divide for confiscating lottery tickets and impose a ban on their sale.

Observers have characterised the ban as an attempt by PAS to reclaim the Malay vote, which has consistently swung back to Barisan Nasional (BN) in the past few by-elections.

The latest flashpoint between DAP and PAS surfaced only days before polling for the twin by-elections in Merlimau and Kerdau, where PAS contested.

BN went on to win the two state seats with increased majorities.

PR earlier this week tried to minimise the fallout from the public spat by announcing that its leadership council would oversee any move to amend regulations or laws in opposition-controlled states.

The pact’s de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the council had agreed that, while it would leave such decisions to the discretion of the state government, these matters should first be discussed among PR’s top leaders.

But Karpal’s latest statement – similar to his claim that PAS will only create an Islamic state in Malaysia “over his dead body” — threatens to disturb the uneasy peace between the two parties.

DAP has warned PAS that its hardline stance on gambling would only slash Chinese support for the party.