Will Hadi be Pakatan’s biggest obstacle in Permatang Pauh polls?


(Malay Mail Online) – As Pakatan Rakyat (PR) scrambles to present a united front now that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is no longer an MP, questions remain as to whether the feud between DAP and PAS will affect the pact’s chances in the upcoming Permatang Pauh by-election.

Federal opposition lawmakers said today that while all three PR parties are in agreement that the seat should be contested by PKR, there are concerns that DAP’s ongoing tiff with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang might affect the pact’s chances in retaining the Permatang Pauh seat.

“I do not know whether there can be a consensus in the Permatang Pauh by-election with Hadi, as he still calls the shots as he is PAS president,” Penang DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby.

The Bukit Gelugor MP stressed that his party had cut off all ties with the PAS chief, and that having any discussions on the Permatang Pauh by-election on a PR leadership level might prove problematic.

“During the by-election, it might pose problems… whether there is going to be cooperation between PR parties.

“But I think it is important to make it clear that DAP is prepared to work fully with PKR,” Ramkarpal said.

“I am talking about the immediate future, the by-election… there might be practical problems in the handling of it as DAP has severed ties with the PAS president,” he added.

Ramkarpal stressed that DAP’s issue was only with Hadi, not PAS as a whole.

“No problem with PAS members, problem is with the leadership.

“Eventually, it will boil down to a leadership crisis,” he said.

PAS chief whip Datuk Mahfuz Omar said, however, that his party would assist PKR in whatever way possible, and tried to downplay the widening rift between PR parties.

“The issue (on Hadi) will not detract PAS from defending Permatang Pauh,” he told reporters.

PKR chief whip Datuk Johari Abdul said PR would meet soon to discuss its strategy to retain the Permatang Pauh seat.

“This is a surprise. It came as a surprise. So certainly the top leadership will convene a meeting as soon as possible to decide what’s the next step of action. Definitely,” he said.

But Johari was unable to answer whether DAP’s attacks against Hadi on his hudud push would affect PR’s preparation for the by-election.

“We will talk about it,” Johari said after a brief pause, when asked who will represent PAS at the PR leadership meeting.

Anwar is officially disqualified as Permatang Pauh MP as his petition for a royal pardon was rejected, according to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

The speaker said that the decision by the Royal Pardon’s Board was reached on March 16.

The decision also means that PR will now have to elect a new opposition leader in Parliament.