In hudud conflict, analysts see lasting cracks in Pakatan


(MM) – PAS and DAP’s opposing stands on hudud suggest an irreconcilable difference that may boil to the surface should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) make it to Putrajaya, several political observers said.

They noted that both parties are held together now by the shared goal of unseating the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), but said the antithetical ideologies of the secularist DAP and Islamic PAS may find it hard to co-exist once their common enemy is eliminated.

“If PAS leaders take a hard line on the Islamic state, then Pakatan will break up,” Dr Lim Teck Ghee from the Centre for Policy Initiatives think tank told The Malay Mail Online today.

“The hope is that the younger generation of PAS leaders will reform the party so it morphs into a moderate and progressive one that can work well with secular-based parties,” the political analyst added.

The glaring differences between PAS and DAP’s political agenda were only shelved temporarily in 2008 for the 12th general election. The results of the election, still referred to today as a “political tsunami”, later forced both parties together under the PR umbrella.

And it was this hastily formed PR pact, which was criticised repeatedly as a marriage of convenience, that helped the opposition front crumble BN’s fortresses in Perak, Selangor, Penang and Kedah.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s re-entry into politics in 2008 also served as a bridge between PAS and DAP.

Since then, PR has gone from strength to strength, from first taking away BN’s supermajority in Election 2008 before gaining further ground in last year’s general election.

But with the Opposition Leader’s own future now in doubt as a sodomy conviction hangs over him and age catches up, there are questions over who else can be the glue that holds the pact together..

Political analyst Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin told The Malay Mail Online that the relationship between the DAP and PAS was currently “very fragile”.

“Kept together by Anwar Ibrahim who is slowly losing his oomph!, PKR is getting undone, hence getting more visible and vocal. Karpal gone. No one else brave enough to confront PAS from PKR or DAP to counter PAS’ position,” added the analyst from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

DAP stalwart Karpal Singh, who had been staunchly against hudud and the Islamic state that are PAS’s goals, was killed in a car accident on April 17. Since then, his colleagues have made it clear they will keep his anti-hudud torch burning, with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng saying Monday that his party would not back down from its position on the matter.

He also reminded DAP’s allies in PR that hudud was not part of the pact’s consensus, and insisted that it will never be as the party will always oppose the idea.

Political analyst Ibrahim Suffian from Merdeka Center said it was possible that PR may split if PAS was adamant on implementing “hudud” in Kelantan.

“It’s largely because this is not in their common policy framework. The spectre of a break-up is there,” Ibrahim told The Malay Mail Online.

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