Too much politicking…

Selena Tay, FMT

The recent religious issues concerning the Catholic Herald weekly newspaper, the Bible and terminology is worked up by certain quarters to create rifts and difficulties between Pakatan Rakyat’s component parties with the main aim being to destabilise PAS.

Knowing that religion is a sensitive issue, Pakatan’s enemies hope that playing up religious issues will cause PAS to be at loggerheads with DAP, and to a certain extent PKR even if PKR chooses to remain silent on the said issues.

If PAS fails to placate the Malay voters, Malay support will surely swing to Umno while the Christians will think of PAS as fundamentalists and not Islamic democrats.

The intention of Umno in this whole drama is to put PAS into a pot. Thus the balancing act on a tightrope is difficult for PAS.

Said Khalid Samad, the PAS Shah Alam MP, “Umno stands to be the biggest gainers in the aftermath of any controversy pertaining to religion”.

Perhaps the only thing for Pakatan to do is to keep quiet and let the issue burn itself out because there is no way Pakatan can compete with BN in regard to religion. Pakatan choosing silence is perhaps the only choice left as discretion is the better part of valour.

The reason why BN choose to focus on race and religion issues is because they want to shore up their voter base. Knowing that they can only rely on the Malay vote, they have decided to go full force for it.

After the price hikes saga which began with the increase in petrol price in early September last year, Umno realised that MCA can no longer be counted upon to deliver the Chinese votes.

As for the Indian vote, it is 50-50.

Although BN has a strong grasp on the Sabahan and Sarawakian votes, this may also begin to be lessened somewhat due to the God and Bible controversy.

Therefore as the Malay vote is the only reliable sector as well as also being the major voting bloc, Umno will do everything in its power to secure votes from this sector.

It cannot be denied that Malaysian politics is very race-based.

We are always counting on votes based on race, for example: 50% of the Malay vote, 80% of the Chinese vote, 60% of the Indian vote and so on and so forth.

Strategies for polls are also race-based as many party strategists will be saying ‘We need to increase the percentage of the Malay vote and the East Malaysian vote’.

Taking all this into consideration and with the next general election still a long time away, Umno can see that the battle will be between themselves and PAS.

Thus Umno takes the early move to strike at PAS via religion issues.