Malaysia’s political standards are taking a dive, to an extent way beyond what we can believe, the latest instance being PAS’ decision to break up with PKR but is reluctant to let go of Selangor state posts.
Like a couple that has publicly proclaimed their divorce, yet still sharing the same bed at night. What kind of relation could that be? Breaking ties but still clinging to government posts, this I could only explain in terms of a split personality!
The Malaysian politics has portrayed a fair share of unprincipled and immoral incidents during the past four years. For example, MCA, Gerakan and other BN component parties were well aware of Umno’s secret deals with PAS such that Hadi Awang could be given the green light to table his private member’s bill on RUU355, but they chose to keep their eyes shut. This same thing will pop up again in July when the Parliament sitting resumes.
It is within anticipation that PAS syura council approved the break-up with PKR because PAS leaders have a preset stand and they are living in their own world of self conceit that they hardly see the prevailing political reality in this country.
Weirdly, PKR still fantasized about a possible reconciliation with PAS shorty before that, while Anwar and Kak Wan still spent time refuting PAS’ three reasons for severing ties.
Why then is PAS still stubbornly glued to the Selangor administration? State commissioner Sallehen Mukhyi explained that this was to allow PAS excos to do good work and prevent DAP from doing a “bad job”.
Out of the 56 state assembly seats in Selangor, PKR holds 13, DAP 14. PAS 12, Amanah 2, Umno 12 and independent 2. Pakatan Harapan parties’ seats put together should still make a simple majority, and PAS’ withdrawal is therefore not going to bring down the state government anyway.
If PAS quits, the three state exco positions will be distributed between Amanah and DAP, which is the last thing PAS wants to see.
Menteri besar Azmin Ali seems to able to read PAS’ mind, and is more than delighted to keep the status quo undisturbed in a bid to evade any political instability. Nevertheless, it has been reported that Azmin has asked the three PAS exco members to resign on their own accord, which is seen as a retaliatory move aimed at embarrassing PAS.
Having dragged things on for four years, the Islamist party is eventually resolved to cut all the ties with Pakatan, meaning the coming general election is going to be a very open battle. Multi-cornered fights could be the norm.
PAS has sky-high ambitions, planning to run in more than a hundred parliamentary seats with an eye on winning 60 to 80.
Even if it manages to win 80 seats, it will still not form the federal government unless it teams up with Umno or other parties.
But, we all know how far this party could go. There is little likelihood it would ever win more seats than what it did last time because the party’s conservative religious roadmap would easily scare off non-Muslims.
Surveys and analyses show that Umno’s support in Malay-majority seats has slipped below 40% vis-à-vis PAS’ 20%.
A poll conducted by INVOKE Center for Policy Initiatives in April also shows that 29.8% of respondents will vote for Umno, 22.3% for PKR and only 11.2% for PAS.
PAS will easily be flushed out in the event of a three-cornered fight!
Meanwhile, the party has expressed its intention of contesting in nine parliamentary seats in KL Federal Territory, including PKR’s Batu and Lembah Pantai, and DAP’s Segambut.
Take Batu for instance, the mixed constituency had 44.41% Malay, 37.76% Chinese and 16.21% Indian voters in GE13. If PAS could secure only 20% of Malay votes, plus a handful of non-Muslim votes, it will be badly thrashed.
The party is set for a humiliating defeat in highly urbanized Selangor and the central region because urban Malays are more concerned about national issues than religion; whereas in Johor and Kedah, Muhyiddin and Mahathir still have substantial influences and PAS will not get its way any easier.
It can only count on predominantly Malay states like Kelantan and Terengganu to retain some of its seats.
What is alarming is that PAS will very likely play up religious issues in its quest for more electoral support. The rise of religious radicalization in Indonesia and the conviction of Ahok should sound an alarm bell.
Racism, theocracy and populism could go wild in an election war characterized by conspirators and adventurists capitalizing on the situation to create havoc and deepen the already acute political crisis.