Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s efforts to consolidate Perikatan Nasional ahead of the 15th general election have caused a divided Umno, with camps in favour and against the coalition publicly going against each other.
The political realignment has not only shaken Umno but also reverberated across other parties, including PAS, which entered into a political marriage with Umno in 2019, an arrangement they thought could dominate in the 15th general election.
Since then, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang steered the party away from the Umno-PAS arrangement in favour of Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional.
Publicly, PAS has said it wants to maintain both its relationships with BN and PN, but now with the two coalitions appearing to be on a collision course, the Islamist party appears more inclined to stay with the PN.
But the calm waters in PAS now appear to be shifting amid claims of a conspiracy against Hadi.
PAS leaders have quickly moved to deny the claim, just as it had denied other controversies in the past – true or untrue – mindful of the massive internal split in 2015 that led to the creation of Amanah.
The subject of denial is an alleged recording between PAS syura council secretary Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali and the party’s spiritual leader, Hashim Jasin.
In the recording, Khairuddin, the plantation industries and commodities minister, had purportedly expressed dissatisfaction with Hadi’s direction, and Hashim had supposedly agreed.
The recording is said to have been passed around among high-level political operatives, but it has not appeared in the public sphere.
Khairuddin has yet to respond to the purported recording, while Hashim came out to strongly deny the matter.
“What audio? There is no audio as claimed. I deny what is being spread.
“I believe it is only a play by certain quarters to pit PAS leaders against each other,” Hashim was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.
“I have never said what is being claimed, not even during religious classes. I have no problems with Hadi.
“If the audio is true, then release it so that we can know if it (the alleged contents) are true or false,” he added.
No smoke without fire
In an editorial piece, the Malay language newspaper said there wouldn’t be any smoke without fire. It said the Islamist party shouldn’t try and turn the matter against the media.
“Don’t label the media as pests for reporting about it. The media only reports. PAS should know best to solve its own problems.
“Don’t sweep things under the carpet. Don’t repeat the split that gave rise to Amanah. Don’t be quick to blame others.
“PAS is a political party and in a political party, there are always those who put on a show and are ambitious,” Sinar Harian said.
Several PAS leaders who Malaysiakini spoke to also denied the conspiracy.
“I’m sorry, but there’s no issue. The story is untrue,” PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man told Malaysiakini.
The PAS commissioners in four states – Terengganu, Malacca, Johor and Negeri Sembilan, have also denied.
Hadi has led PAS since 2002, although his grip on the party grew stronger after the passing of its spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat in 2015.
In the same year, conservative forces aligned to Hadi moved against the progressive faction in the party that was largely shielded by Nik Aziz while he was alive.
Following the ouster of progressive leaders in the 2015 PAS election, they left to form Amanah.
Since then, PAS has not seen major ideological differences within the party as the conservative groups have dominated the party.
The BN or PN dilemma will be the party’s most significant crossroad that will shape the political landscape after the 15th general election.