What I foresaw a few months ago of Umno backstabbing PAS is happening right in front of our eyes, but I did not expect it to be that soon.
Therefore, when someone like Nasharudin Mat Isa is now coming out to say that PAS-Umno cooperation is becoming more feasible and would be beneficial to Malaysia, I think my response is: “Indeed, it is!”
But, honestly, this is just laughable, coming from the former PAS deputy president.
What I see happening now in the public arena appears to be more like déjà vu. I thought it had already happened, but now, it’s unfolding slowly. Yet, some people are so blinded by this strategy that is being used to weaken one of Umno’s biggest threats.
Unless they change the strategy at the top, we would be seeing more of this party-hopping (and not just 50 this round in the Tendong state constituency), as we approach the next general election.
We have seen enough of such party-hopping close to the general election that your guess is as good as mine that these members would leave their party in big numbers to join the rival party just to create a publicity stunt, like the recent “big” announcement by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over the crossing-over by former menteri besar of Selangor, Muhammad Muhammad Taib.
Never the twain shall meet
It is clear from my reading that the intention of these 50 former PAS members from Tendong was to play on the non-Muslims’ perception of PAS after the demise of its spiritual leader, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
But what is more obvious to me is that there is a clear-cut political rivalry between the two parties – PAS and Umno. Never the twain shall meet!
What Mat Zahid Junoh, the spokesperson who represented the 50 former Tendong PAS members, said is simply a regurgitation of what is already being said by the non-Muslim community about PAS after Amanah broke away from it. In fact, most non-Muslims would be likely to cast a vote for Amanah than PAS.
What Mat Zahid had said was to further alienate PAS from its non-Muslim supporters. In the past, PAS could only draw on non-Muslim support because of the Anwar factor, both in the 1999 general election, when former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim’s Reformasi movement was at its height, and subsequently in 2008, when PAS was working in collaboration with both PKR and DAP to defeat BN.
As I have earlier said, how can Umno give in to PAS, when PAS is its strongest rival trying to woo the same pool of voters in the rural Malay heartland?
Although both parties may appear to be working together, Umno would not allow PAS to win more seats that would weaken its own grip on the ruling coalition.
The moment their collaboration turns sour, and PAS decides to pull out from any form of collaboration with BN, whether formal or otherwise, Umno’s grip on the coalition would be weakened.
This is what Umno would have to safeguard at all cost. Unfortunately, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has conveniently tried to ignore this fact.
Although some PAS members may vote blindly for an Umno candidate, PAS would find it difficult to get Umno to agree to more seat allocations to contest, especially in urban constituencies where they know the non-Muslims would not vote for PAS.
This is the real acid test that would determine whether a PAS-Umno collaboration is even feasible. Nasharuddin should know better.
STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.