Pakatan Rakyat, for all intents and purposes, is technically dead

Zubaidah Abu Bakar

Zubaidah Abu Bakar, The Rakyat Post

THE day has come. Pakatan Rakyat, whose survival has remained threatened by internal schisms all along, is technically dead.

The DAP, and some PAS and PKR leaders, too, are saying that Pakatan Rakyat has ceased to exist.

And they are not wrong.

Pakatan Rakyat, as pointed by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, was built on consensus and bound by the common policy framework. Thus the motion passed at the recent PAS muktamar had effectively killed off the pact.

The motion to sever ties with DAP, passed without debate at the PAS 61st Muktamar in Kuala Selangor on June 6, created some confusion in the DAP-PAS relationship status, with some arguing that the decision was not set in stone as the Syura Council and the Central Committee had the final say.

This caused restlessness in PAS, prompting the party’s Bukit Katil division in Malacca to urge the party leadership to not delay its decision on the controversial motion as delays in reaching a final decision had caused anxiety among grassroots members who were eager to know what the party’s actual stance on the issue.

But the party was left with little choice as members of the Syura Council for the new term had yet to be appointed.

Perhaps PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who DAP had blamed
for pushing Pakatan Rakyat’s “demise”, should at least respond to the issue to pacify party members.

Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister, blamed Abdul Hadi for violating agreements with Pakatan Rakyat partners and going against the coalition’s common policy framework once too often, which he said had brought Pakatan Rakyat to near paralysis.

But as expected, there were still those, especially in PAS, who continued to insist that the coalition was intact for as long as PKR and PAS remained committed to the cooperation.

Then again, it was a matter of how one interpreted the motion that was passed at the PAS muktamar.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders had seen this episode coming for quite some time amid rising tension and public spat, especially between DAP and PAS.

Open feuds were a never-ending problem in the three-member pact that was hastily assembled in the wake of Opposition parties’ overwhelming victory in the 2008 general election.

Then, all three parties felt a need to impress the country that a united Opposition front existe. It was also meant to accommodate the smooth administration of the five states that the Opposition had jointly won — Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak and Selangor.

Perak was returned to Barisan Nasional a year later due to crossover of state lawmakers.

Although it survived tests after tests and, in fact, managed to make inroads in Barisan Nasional areas in the 13th general election, internal strive continued to threaten to break the coalition.

The Kajang Move, Selangor Menteri Besar debacle, PAS’ push for the implementation of hudud in Kelantan and the latest, PAS muktamar’s motion that the Islamist party severe ties with the DAP,  were all signs of the disintegration of the yet to be formalised coalition of mismatched Opposition parties.

The three parties — Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PAS and the DAP — have had their share of issues with each other over administrative policies in states under Pakatan Rakyat rule, all due to the parties’ dissimilar aims and divergent policies.

The three parties had entered into a pact to contest the 1999 general election and formed “Barisan Alternatif”. However, their differences paralysed their cooperation and DAP went solo in 2001 due to PAS’ insistence on setting up an Islamic state.

Many Malaysians, although they had issues with the BN government, saw how the three parties had tried to work together in elections prior to 2008 and their internal bickering always pushed them apart.

All these made people sceptical of Pakatan Rakyat’s ability to become an alternative to Barisan Nasional in ruling the country.

With this new twist of event, will it be business as usual for PKR and PAS without DAP?