SELANGOR PKR has been told to take into its fold disgruntled PAS leaders and members leaving the Islamist party in a second exodus as the clock ticks down to the 14th general election (GE14).
Sources told The Malaysian Insight that defectors could include office bearers and at least four state lawmakers from Selangor PAS, who are disenchanted with the party decision to go it alone in GE14 and who wish instead to work with Pakatan Harapan.
Unlike the first wave of PAS defectors who left to form Amanah, this second wave is likely to join PKR.
It is learnt that Amanah leaders are not keen on the plan as it disrupts the opposition coalition’s seat allocations in the state’s 56 constituencies.
“We’ve been told to prepare ourselves for it” said a Selangor PKR official in charge of election preparations speaking on condition of anonymity.
The plan was revealed at a PH retreat early this month.
A Selangor PAS source said the planned exit was still at the proposal stage.
“It’s only a plan for now. There are many among us who are dissatisfied with PAS’ direction. About 10 of the 13 PAS assemblymen don’t like the party’s direction and the change in local leadership,” said the source.
The Selangor PAS official said PH had repeatedly tried to get the Islamist party’s central leadership to change its mind about not wanting to work with it in GE14.
PAS formerly worked with DAP and PKR but fell out with them in 2015 after more conservative leaders took over the reins at the Islamist party.
PAS is campaigning under the banner of a second opposition coalition called Gagasan Sejahtera Rakyat, which has announced that as well as the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, it will also take on PH, which is made up of Amanah, PKR, DAP, and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, in the general election to come.
“PAS state lawmakers had met our spiritual leader (Hashim Jasin) to discuss this but he couldn’t give a satisfactory answer. We were told to leave matters to the wisdom of our president (Abdul Hadi Awang),” said the Selangor PAS source.
Hadi has repeatedly gone on record saying there will not be an electoral pact with either BN or PH, and has been particularly critical of the leaders of the latter.
“If we contest (independently) we will lose. So it is best (for us) to join a PH party and PKR is the best choice because our grassroots have good ties with the party compared with Amanah,” said the Selangor PAS source.
The source said Merdeka Centre, an opinion research firm, had presented to PAS its findings on the party’s election prospects. A survey has shown that in a straight fight with BN, PAS can retain seven of the 15 seats it won in the 2013 general election. But should PH be thrown into the mix, PAS will be able to hold on to only one seat – Bangi.
Another source within PH said participants at the PH retreat where the defection plan was disclosed had questioned the value of the proposed influx of disgruntled PAS members.
“Some asked the point of accepted their elected reps because even if we do (absorb them), PAS will still put up their candidates and we would have to face them (in the election),” said the PH source who had attended the retreat.
If the plan goes through, the most affected party would be PKR’s ally, Amanah. It will have to give up to the newcomers some of the 15 PAS seats it intends to contest, that is not going to go down well with the PAS splinter party.