PAS’ tale of two affairs

(The Star) – The PAS affair with two warring partners is set to turn the party’s Muktamar today into a fiery affair, with delegates also expected to speak their minds on a wide range of issues.

The biggest issue, however, will be the party’s status in Muafakat Nasional – its cooperation with Umno – and Perikatan Nasional, where it is aligned with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Temperatures are expected to rise with delegates torn between the two.

A delegate from Alor Setar who only wanted to be known as Ali said he wanted to demand that the party leadership sever its ties with Umno and focus on Perikatan instead.

“I think this is obvious as we in PAS have been constantly attacked by the Umno leadership.

“It is better that we focus on our work in Perikatan to win the next general election,” he said.

His sentiment does not echo that of the Islamist party’s deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

He said the Muktamar would see discussions among delegates on strengthening Perikatan but added that the party had no qualms about protecting the Muafakat pact .

“I think the delegates will support the president’s intention to strengthen the ummah (community) as the basis of politics for the future of Malaysia,” he said.

On Muafakat, Tuan Ibrahim felt unity of the ummah was important for the Malays and Islam.

He said it was not PAS that wanted to end the relation but Umno that was pushing to end the pact.

State Amanah chairman Datuk Phahrolrazi Mohd Zawawi said the Muktamar would likely see those aligned with Umno further sidelined in the party.

He said pro-Umno party figures such as Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali and others would come under political attacks at the assembly.

“The other group which is pro-Perikatan will be more dominant this time,” he said.

Asked if there was a crack within the party, the former state PAS deputy commissioner said the crack was more visible at the leadership level than at the grassroots.

He said PAS members and supporters were known to be obedient and loyal to their leadership and would not object to any directive from their leader.

Meanwhile, Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Faroul, who is Universiti Sains Malaysia Centre for Policy Research and International Studies Associate director, said PAS’ focus during Muktamar would be solely on the 15th General Election (GE15).

“They will discuss strategies so they can maximise their electoral gain,” he said.

He said Perikatan needs PAS more than PAS needs the coalition as it is currently the strongest party in terms of membership and machinery in the coalition.

He said whether or not PAS works with Umno in Muafakat would only be determined after the general election.

“After GE14 and the fall of PH in 2020, Malaysian politics has become so fragmented. It is not an exaggeration to say that not a single party is now able to dominate the electoral arena.

“A coalition of parties to form the next government will only be forged after GE15,” he said.