Pakatan meeting discussed ‘all issues’ but no solution yet

Pakatan Breakup

(The Ant Daily) – Despite insisting that “all matters” have been discussed at today’s Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim did not announce any resolution to pressing matters affecting the coalition.

“We agree that all decisions shall be made on the principle of consensus which has been the basis of our strength all along.

“However, we will continue to celebrate our diversity of opinions and so we have agreed to convene a special meeting to come up with a solution concerning the Syariah Criminal Enactment 2 and local council elections issue,” said Anwar during a press conference held at the PAS headquarters after the meeting in Kuala Lumpur. No date has been fixed for this special meeting as yet.

Also in attendance at the press conference were Pakatan Rakyat’s top leaders except for PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. He had however attended the meeting.

The DAP had previously warned that they will not attend the meeting if Abdul Hadi was not there but the PAS president had retorted that “he is not a school boy to be ordered around.”

When asked to comment on the PAS president’s absence from the press conference, Anwar stressed that Abdul Hadi had a previous engagement that he had to attend.

“He already postponed his engagement to attend the meeting until the end,” said the PKR de facto leader.

Within the past few months, PAS and DAP leaders had traded barbs over their respective plans to implement the hudud law in Kelantan and introduce the third vote in Penang.

Both parties were adamant that the other’s plans went against the Pakatan common policy framework, while defending their own as being part of an earlier consensus.

Anwar added that Kelantan deputy menteri besar Datuk Nik Amar Nik Abdullah had attended the meeting today to table PAS’ proposed bill to amend federal laws that would allow the implementation of hudud in the state. PAS is expected to table this bill in the next parliament sitting.

Observers earlier predicted that today’s meeting could be the end of the road for the fledgling opposition coalition but leaders met today insisted otherwise, reaffirming their commitment to the alliance.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Abdul Hadi greeted each other like long lost friends and there was no discernible tension between the two senior leaders.

“The debate (between Lim and PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali) is (also) no longer relevant,” said Salahuddin when asked on the earlier challenge issued by Mustafa, after Lim had accused him of being a liar.

Meanwhile, Lim said that a special leadership council meeting will be convened on Feb 10 if the Federal Court decides on that day to send Anwar to jail for sodomy. The main agenda of that meeting would be to discuss Anwar’s successor as the leader of the opposition pact.

The Pakatan leaders also confirmed their commitment to work with NGOs and other political parties in finding solutions for current economic woes and mounting racial tension.

This was in response to an appeal by civil society coalition Negara-Ku chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan earlier this week for leaders from both Pakatan and Barisan Nasional to set aside their political difference and focus on addressing pressing national issues.

It was also announced during the press conference that Pakatan will be holding its annual convention on May 10 to revive support among supporters who may be disenchanted with their recent troubles.

In a way, today’s meeting was reminiscent of previous Pakatan ‘consensus’ on issues such as use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims and the Islamic state, for which their only agreement was to “agree to disagree”.

Their inability to come up with a concrete solution to intra-party squabbles has hobbled Pakatan before and indirectly led to their vocal disagreements in the past few months.

While the solid front being put on by Pakatan leaders may provide short-term stop gaps to the survival of their political alliance, it remains to be seen if they can come up with long-term solutions that will truly unite them towards achieving their goal of seizing Putrajaya.