Is PAS considering a future without Perikatan?

SOMETHING is brewing in PAS. Its leaders have been oddly subdued before and after the party’s lacklustre performance in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election in Selangor.

(TMI) – This has given rise to speculation that the Islamist party is considering leaving the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, which also comprises Bersatu and Gerakan, the latter a shadow of its once mighty self in Penang.

Political scientist Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said it is time for PAS to think about its future.

PAS is the dominant party in the Malay heartland. It governs the four northern states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu. In recent years, it has also made significant inroads into Penang, Perak, Selangor, Johor, and Pahang in recent years.

“There are no permanent friends or enemies, only common interests. It is therefore not impossible for PAS to join the national unity government. Sometimes differences can be put aside in the name of national interest,” said Sivamurugan.

PAS insiders, who preferred not to be named, said there is talk about the future direction of the party. Its president Abdul Hadi Awang is sick while questions remain on which course his likely successor Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, the deputy president, will take.

The unity government has dangled carrots before the party in the form of development grants and incentives for the four states under PAS’ stewardship.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has given the impression that if the opposition is willing to cooperate with his administration in some matters, the federal government will reciprocate with financial aid for the poorer states.

Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu are lagging behind the other states in economic growth, so it would be constructive for PAS to work with its federal counterpart, especially in lobbying for foreign and domestic direct investments.

Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor had apologised to Anwar in the middle of the KKB campaign earlier this month.

The next day, Anwar said the Transport Ministry would consider funding the proposed Kulim International Cargo Airport, one of the ambitious projects planned by Sanusi under his “Greater Kedah” development masterplan.

Unlike the old PAS, the party had chosen to stay out of the recent controversy of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) being told to open admissions to non-Bumiputra medical students.

PAS also left it mainly to the other Malay parties, Umno and Bersatu, to talk about the KK Mart socks affair.

Last Sunday, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan issued a statement saying the party stood in solidarity with DAP’s Seputeh MP Teresa Kok Suh Sim, who had received two bullets in the mail.

“We do not condone any form of action that is against the law,” said Takiyuddin

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