Karpal: PAS an important, principled ally


(fz.com) – “We too must change with the times or the times will change us,” he said. “In politics there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends but there must be permanent principles.” 

DAP’s 16th national congress opened in Penang today to fire and brimstone speeches by its top leadership in a move to rally members and supporters ahead of the country’s 13th general election.

In their speeches, chairman Karpal Singh and secretary-general Lim Guan Eng hailed the party’s triumphs, established its stand on contentious national issues and repeated its call for a change in government.
Karpal reminded the 2,500-strong audience at the Penang National Sports Arena that the next general election could be Pakatan Rakyat’s only opportunity of replacing the “enemy” that is Barisan Nasional at the national level.
“I have no doubt that Pakatan can achieve this objective especially with Penang setting the example of being an effective government under the leadership of the Penang chief minister, Lim Guan Eng,” he stated.
The Bukit Gelugor MP also sought to solidify DAP’s relationship with its two Pakatan allies by describing PAS as a “solid principal partner” and voicing support for PKR de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as prime minister should the opposition coalition take over Putrajaya.
The latter statement follows recent calls by PAS for the premiership to be held by its president, Abdul Hadi Awang, if Pakatan forms the next federal government.
Karpal has been seen as the strongest critic from the DAP of Islamic measures associated with PAS that may affect non-Muslims, especially in PAS-led Kelantan. Today, however, he openly declared PAS an “important ally”.
“We may have our differences with PAS but it is a solid, principled party and an important ally,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
Present at the congress was PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar. 
Karpal acknowledged that DAP had not foreseen a working relationship with PAS in the past but that the Islamic party had proven to be an important component in the opposition alliance. 
“We too must change with the times or the times will change us,” he said. “In politics there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends but there must be permanent principles.”
Lim, in his speech, underlined DAP’s loyalty and contribution to the opposition coalition and requested that this loyalty be recognised through additional seat allocations in the next general election.
“We would like three extra parliamentary seats and 10 extra states seats in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said. “East Malaysia will handle the seat negotiations on their own.”
DAP contested 47 parliamentary and 102 state seats in last election, and won 28 and 71 seats respectively.
Lim also spoke up in defense of PAS over two recent controversies plaguing the party – the summonses on non-Muslims for indecent behaviour and plans for gender segregation in hair salons. Both issues are centered in the PAS-ruled state of Kelantan.
“MCA is trying to paint PAS as a party that is imposing Islamic laws on non-Muslims like khalwat which we know isn’t true at all,” Lim stated.
An English daily had reported that Kelantan enforcement officers had fined four non-Muslims for khalwat, an offence under syariah law.
PAS however clarified that the summonses were for indecent behaviour, which is an offence under local council laws.