If it ‘agrees to disagree’ so often, can Pakatan ever rule Malaysia?


(TMI) – The fact that Pakatan Rakyat needs a special meeting to trash out differences on whether to have local council elections is an admission that they have found another critical issue where they have to “agree to disagree”.

Analysts said this raised questions of whether the six-year-old coalition was cohesive enough and ready to rule this country, as local council elections, unlike hudud, were in their common manifesto.

Hudud, the Kelantan Shariah criminal law, is special because it was passed in 1993 by the PAS-dominated state government and preceded PR’s formation in 2008.

Local government elections, some PR leaders said, were agreed upon by all coalition partners in the 2013 in its common policy framework, which is a manifesto of sorts.

So if these three parties are fighting over something they had already agreed upon as a coalition, one wonders what other points of agreement they are going to fight about if it took over federal power in the 14th general election.

“If this internal turmoil keeps going on, one wonders if they really are ready to replace Barisan Nasional,” said political scientist Dr Maszlee Malik.

Different mentalities

To be fair, said PAS leader Youth chief Suhaizan Kaiat, local government elections were not specifically mentioned in the policy framework.

“What was agreed to was ‘strengthening democracy at the local level’,” said Suhaizan, when met after the PR presidential council meeting yesterday.

The council meeting, which was done against a backdrop of acrimony between PAS and DAP, decided that the coalition would hold a series of special meetings to discuss local government elections and the Kelantan hudud bill.

This follows weeks of PAS and DAP leaders trading barbs over local council polls.

The debate hit a raw nerve when PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said that such a move would worsen ethnic divisions and lead to another May 13 race riot.

Suhaizan said there were differences of opinion among the leadership over whether to implement local council polls.

While some like Hadi and PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said PAS did not agree, others like former Terengganu state executive councillor Datuk Abdul Mutalib Embong and Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin supported it.

Maszlee, who is an assistant professor at the International Islamic University, said this difference of opinion reflected the contrasting mentalities between PAS leaders.

Maszlee said Hadi’s opinion of local council polls and the way he looked at it from a racial lens was the minority view in PAS.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/if-it-agrees-to-disagree-so-often-can-pakatan-ever-rule-malaysia