Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An uneasy truce in PAS - picking up the pieces

It was unprecedented - the normally well-composed Nik Aziz losing his cool, lashing out at his deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa angrily, and 10 PAS MPs pledging their support for the spiritual leader. The signs were clear. Not just that, there was even talk of not putting up posters of party president Hadi Awang in a by-election. Something unheard of, until now.

It was clear that the two top PAS leaders, who had earlier supported moves for unity talks with Umno, had little choice but to retreat. The resentment was just too great. Their Pakatan Rakyat allies, DAP and PKR, were also not amused at the power play with even talk of forming a unity government, at the expense of the opposition.

The readiness of the two PAS leaders to take a different path has obviously gone down badly. It would be hard for them to regain the confidence of their allies. The relationship would never be the same again as it cannot be forgive and forget. Sheer political ambitions of possible ministerial positions, walking along Putrajaya's corridors of power, and carving out the different states seems to have ruled their heads, as much as they wish to deny.

Hadi's constant berate against having more non-Muslim elected representatives, as quoted in the Harakah, also revealed the dark side of him. His intolerance may be overlooked by fanatical supporters of PR but the fact is that he has become uncomfortable at the huge number of Sabah and Sarawak MPs, many of whom do not share his religious fervour, even if they are Muslims.

Husam Musa also found out that certain things would never change in PAS. PAS has never hidden its Islamic agenda. The conservatives voiced out loud that the top two posts should be reserved for ulamas. No matter how much reforms Husam can bring, he did not have a beard, as he himself said after he lost.

Within PAS, the party leaders have plenty of damage control to do now. Hadi and Nasharuddin cannot ignore the many leaders in Kelantan who were wiped out in the party polls. They may have put on a united front, blaming Umno and the media for their own weaknesses but the fact remains that there are still many unhappy faces in the party, who are still trying to make sense of the events of the past one week.

But they need to explore further. Have these talks with Umno been going on informally for sometime, which perhaps prompted them to take a step further. That's however academic now because the objections against the proposed unity talks has been strong. Still, the question is whether Hadi and Nasharuddin have taken two steps back as a strategy and temporarily shelved the idea for the time being. It looks like an uneasy truce.


Anonymous said...

A few things to bear in mind:
1) Voters who were against BN may punish Hadi and Nas by voting against them, even by giving votes to BN, just to teach these two fellas a lesson. These two will have tough days ahead for "sleeping" or "flirting" around with UMNO. They will get caught in between, It was a bad gamble.
2) MCA, Gerakan and MIC are also casualties in the whole episode because they look like lame ducks for not objecting to UMNO's love affair with PAS, and these 3 parties, especially MCA and Gerakan, may see more atttrition in membership and supporters. If MCA, Gerakan and MIC think it is OK to be in bed with PAS, then why should their current supporters still want to stick around with BN. Afterall these parties went around frighthening voters about how radical PAS was.
3) PAS will see some turbulence as the moderates and the extremists fight for control of the party. Hadi and Nas would be foolhardy to think they are in control of PAS.

Anonymous said...

The whole fiasco reveals many things, among them:
1) There are some people in PAS who are intoxicated with the dream of power, and forgot what they were fighting for.
2) UMNO is revealing its weakness by trying to woo PAS to shore up its power base. UMNO is itself divided. Najib needs a new ally.
3) BN is in bad shape. UMNO looks at its partners with disdain. It seems like UMNO thinks MCA, MIC, Gerakan etc are quite disposable,and make no difference if they leave BN.
4) Pakatan itself is fragile, as PAS is the guy that seems to be the most likely disloyal partner. It seems like some PAS leaders can be very un-Islamic when it comes to the seduction of power and racism.
5) PAS itself is fragile as the party is caught between modernism & democracy vs conservatism & racism.
6) Both BN and Pakatan have odd bedfellows.

yes said...

Agree with some of what WCW said but some of it can be debated. PAS will survive inshaallah.Being a very intelectual person, perhaps WCW should go deep into Islam then he would understands how the mind of the muslim work.

Anyway thank you for whatever truth that WCW touched in his article.

amoker said...

Oh, you forgot that MCA is being sidelined in all these. they are nobody.. 'we can rule on our own'. dun be so selective la ... why no noise from barisan componentS?

Anonymous said...

Hadi and Nas want to be ministers! Why wait until next GE, when they can be ministers NOW, by marrying UMNO???
Ahhh.....the mere thought of power is intoxicating! The thoughts alone can make men and women weak at the knees!
Hadi and Nas: Jump ! Jump !
What the S$%#. All politicians are alike. Can't trust any of them, what ever colour or brand they wear!