Discord in PN ‘evident’ from PAS veep’s pixelated photos, says analyst

Azmi Hassan says PAS is ‘flexing its muscles’ to show it can move on without Perikatan Nasional and Bersatu.

(FMT) – The discord between PAS and Bersatu appears to be “more evident” after photos posted by the Islamic party’s vice-president Amar Abdullah on Facebook appeared to blur out Perikatan Nasional (PN) banners hung at the venue, an analyst says.

Azmi Hassan, a fellow at the National Council of Professors, said the frayed relations between the two PN components surfaced during campaigning for the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election two months ago.

On the eve of polling day for the Selangor state assembly seat, Ilham Centre observed that PAS’s campaigning for Bersatu’s Khairul Azhari Saut had been noticeably muted.

The think tank said PAS, which forms the backbone of the opposition coalition’s election machinery, had not fully mobilised its members. It also noted that Selangor PAS did not appear aggressive in its campaigning, while machinery from the party’s other state chapters was absent.

“What PAS is basically trying to show is that they can go it alone, they don’t need Bersatu. That is true in Sungai Bakap and other areas where Malay voters make up more than 60% to 70% of the electorate,” he told FMT.

Azmi said Amar’s photos also lent credence to suggestions that PAS might be engaged in “talks” about working with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government.

Last week, unity government spokesman Fahmi Fadzil refused to address speculation about PAS joining the unity coalition, while several PAS leaders dismissed the claims outright.

However, Azmi said those talks might be more along the lines of establishing a relationship with Putrajaya.

“I think PAS is trying to be more friendly with the federal government, not specifically with Pakatan Harapan or Umno,” he said.

“But I think how the relationship (would look like) is still an ongoing discussion.”

Amar, the Kelantan state assembly speaker, had on June 24 posted several photos of himself speaking at a ceramah during the Sungai Bakap by-election campaign.

Six of those photos appeared to have PN banners pixelated.

However, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Azmil Tayeb warned against reading too much into the matter.

“I wouldn’t put much stock in it,” he said.

“The likelihood of PAS joining the Madani government is slim to none as long as DAP is in (it).”