Why a Pakatan-PAS alliance is possible in Selangor after GE14

(MMO) – As newly appointed Pakatan Harapan (PH) election director, one of the first public statements Datuk Seri Azmin Ali made has been to reaffirm his commitment to convincing PAS not to clash with the coalition during the 14th general election.

His latest remarks have rattled some colleagues within PH parties like DAP and Amanah, as they had believed the issue to have been settled ever since PAS had officially severed ties with PKR back in May.

But the Selangor mentri besar’s refusal to write off PAS despite all the bad blood between the Islamist party and PH shows his efforts to do whatever it takes to avoid multi-cornered fights in parliamentary and seats come GE14 — especially in Selangor, where any clashes between the two will ultimately benefit Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

Azmin’s allies within the Selangor government have been quick to defend him, saying that despite hostilities on the national level PAS has proven to be an efficient and reliable partner within the state.

The art of compromise

Yin Shao Loong, strategic communications director from the Selangor Mentri Besar’s Office said that currently any number of political scenarios are possible as the country’s politics are in a period of “tremendous openness and fluidity.”

He said that an outcome that will guarantee a maximum loss for Umno is one where it faces a straight fight against the combined forces of PH and PAS.

“Politics is the art of the possible; it is also the art of compromise. From the state executive to the local council level Keadilan, DAP, PAS and Amanah have formed a coherent and cooperative government machinery in Selangor.

“Selangor is the living example of how differences can be overcome and service to the people and unity against Umno placed foremost,” he told Malay Mail Online.

The Selangor government official stressed that working together with PAS has not put PH or Azmin’s administration at a disadvantage when it comes to policy-making, saying that the state government is proof of how a PH-PAS coalition can work together and achieve progressive policies.

“The immediate need to serve the people and honour their electoral mandate has trumped all other political considerations. Party members may voice grouses but the fact is their party leaders sit side-by-side every week in the Exco meetings and jointly shape state policy. This is all done with the approval of top national leadership,” Yin said.

Azmin’s position is PKR’s stand

Selangor state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong also defended Azmin and the need to keep the lines of communication with PAS open; and that what her boss is saying isn’t a personal view but an approach agreed upon by PKR.

“What Azmin is doing isn’t in his personal capacity but it is the the position of the party to keep all lines of communications open, both formal and informal.

“He has now taken over the role of the peacemaker, doing what Anwar Ibrahim did before back in 2007. Anyone who attacks Azmin just because he has been given this task is either politically naive or has other vested interests,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

She said that there have been concerns raised by PH parties about retaining state seats outside of the Klang Valley in GE14 should PAS contest against PH and BN. This, according to Wong, is precisely why Azmin does not want to sever ties with PAS.

Wong reminded PH parties and allies of the situation before the 12th general election, and how well opposition parties fared because of how Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim fought to ensure that there were no three-cornered fights.

“Amanah is still in its infancy and its leaders are relatively unknown to the Malay masses. They will take some years to get the necessary support of the Malay-Muslim voters. The next GE is a question of survival for them. it means they must win in some safe seats to get more time to grow.

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