Another split crisis

Pakatan Breakup

Sin Chew Daily

The Federal Court will announce its judgement on PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against his conviction and five-year jail term for sodomy on February 10. At this critical moment, Pakatan Rakyat, in greatest need of unity to cope with the worst possible outcome, has instead fallen into a split crisis. It is another severe challenge after the Selangor Menteri Besar crisis last year that had almost collapsed Pakatan Rakyat.

In recent months, as PAS reverted to implement hudud law in Kelantan, the party’s relationship with the DAP has plummeted into the bottom. The two parties have accused each other, triggering a new round of war of words. It has not only brought a challenge to the three component parties of Pakatan Rakyat, but also caused the coalition’s “regime change” plan for the next general election to vanish into thin air.

PAS wants to implement hudud law in Kelantan, triggering backlashes from non-Muslim communities. It has also caused the DAP, one of the component parties of Pakatan Rakyat, to be criticised. To make clear its stand of opposing to the implementation of hudud law, DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke publicly declared that if PAS insists, it should leave Pakatan Rakyat. Acting party national chairman Tan Kok Wai even said that if PAS refuses to give up the implementation of hudud law, Pakatan Rakyat might then become a coalition of two component parties, or other parties might join.

PAS and DAP have departed from each other and even accused each other. After PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang claimed that the local council election insisted by the DAP might lead to the repetition of May 13 riots, DAP was angered and party leaders at all levels, including Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang and Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng, have come forward to launch counter-attacks. Kit Siang described Hadi Awang’s remarks as “dropping a time bomb” while Guan Eng teased that the Kelantan state government is incompetent, saying that the state seemed to have been fallen into an anarchy during the massive flood, ridiculing that they better don’t be the state government if they can’t do things right.

The serious disagreements and bad relations between the DAP and PAS have led to the suspension of the top PAS leadership meeting for six months. Meanwhile, the two parties have frequently issued statements against each other, causing Anwar to call on both to stop fighting, and sit down to resolve differences through internal meetings, to avoid causing disappointment among supporters, resulting in a loss of supporting rate in the next general election.

However, based on the current situation, PAS seems unlikely to abandon its ideology and give up its ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic state. Meanwhile, for the party’s interests and principles, the DAP is also unlikely to make a concession. It seems that the DAP could only draw a clear line or even split with PAS to keep non-Muslim voters’ support.

The ultimate verdict of Anwar and the deadlock between the DAP and PAS that seems hopeless to reconcile have made Pakatan Rakyat, the only political coalition so far that is able to challenge the BN, to exist only in name. Once Pakatan Rakyat collapses, what impacts would be brought on the country’s two-party system that has not even been fully formed? And what impacts would be brought on the country’s democracy progress? The development of the situation is undoubtedly a Gordian knot for Pakatan Rakyat, testing the wisdom of party leaders. It is worthy of our close attention.