What PAS wants out of Umno


Hudud was used as an opening gambit in getting out of the Pakatan coalition. It has served its purpose and is now being put on the backburner.

Lim Teck Ghee, The Heat Malaysia

We are seeing today the biggest happening to take place in Malay and Muslim politics for a long time.

It has upheaval effects that can potentially reshape Malaysian politics and society. This is the courtship of PAS and its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang by the Prime Minister and Umno president, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The seduction line held out: In bed together, we can advance Islamic and Malay unity.

The reason why Najib is doing this is clear. In addition to gerrymandering, vote buying and other forms of electoral trickery, Najib needs an insurance policy to ensure that Umno retains power in the coming election.

Desertion by Umno’s supporters alone could lead to possible loss of power. Having Hadi by his side and a partnership with PAS could stem the Umno haemorrhage arising from the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation debacles, and see the party’s rank and file refrain from abstaining or voting against the ruling government.

It could also produce the bonus of having PAS supporters vote against whatever opposition coalition that finally emerges. In effect this is a double whammy against the opposition and a winning strategy for Najib.

But what is in it for PAS that looks to me like a Faustian bargain for both sides? After all, they have been implacable enemies for much of the history of the two parties.

An early episode of collaboration in 1973 following the restoration of parliamentary government proved to be disastrous for PAS.

Since then, the party – together with DAP – has borne the brunt of the BN’s arsenal of dirty tricks weaponry, including arbitrary imprisonment of opposition leaders, and marginalization and discrimination of the electorate voting for the opposition.

So, what then is in it for PAS’s present leadership that can overcome the history of ideological differences and bitter rivalry? Firstly, we should not be fooled by the light and sound show on hudud put out by Hadi and his men.

This is not the real cause of the breakup with Pakatan Rakyat and the DAP. Hadi knows that there is no prospect of hudud being implemented because the individuals and groups that will be affected most by the imposition of hudud law will come mainly from Umno; and perhaps from PAS too.

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