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The Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is in turmoil with trouble brewing at its base and spreading to its leadership.
The split is however caused by the innocent greed and weaklings of some leaders of the party. It was thought that with the PAS maturing into a 'National' Party, it would be able to hold the keys to Malay political power and overtake the United Malays National Organization (Umno) in this sphere.
PAS's Political Suicide to Join UMNO in a Unity Government
PAS and the Umno were bound to look into 'Malay' unity as claim for the formation of a possible unity government.
Announcing the desire to pursue such interests during the Muktamar was a blow to the PAS, the PR and the PKR.
We ( in World Futures blog) did say that Malay unity will not pass WITHOUT Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR). We did write in 2008 which forced the PAS to admit it was in contact with the Umno to form a 'unity' government. We also said that there will be NO unity among the Malays as long as the PAS want to go alone with the Umno as both parties does not really represent 100 percent of the Malays.
PAS move to officially announce it prefers a coalition with the Umno may significantly reduce the current Malay political divide but it will NOT cement Malay unity. The Malays will remain a divided group with a possible majority supporting the PAS-UMNO camp while the minority (a large one altogether) will be supporting the PKR-DAP in the PR.
Reality on the Ground
The reality on the ground and the facts in Malaysia with regards to the PAS says a different story:
- The party is supported by a mere 20% of the voting population.
- It won most of the seats in Selangor and Perak THANKS to the partners in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.
- Its claims that it will hold the post of Prime Minister is futile since the entire world knows that Anwar Ibrahim is the de-facto future Prime Minister of a PR government and will be supported as such by the crowds that responds to his presence in almost all the states in Malaysia.
- The crude reality is that the PAS has won more votes and seats in 1999 that it could ever dream of under the rule of Tun Mahathir Mohamad thanks to the 'black eye' of Anwar Ibrahim.
- It was also lucky to hold the key posts in more states after the 2008 General Elections (GE) thanks to the campaigning by Anwar Ibrahim – who did so by taking high risks of being arrested during the campaign since he was under a ban.
The 55th Muktamar of the PAS proved to be of a different dish.
- The party has showed its crankiness, being old and outdated,
- It has in reality lost its usefulness.
- Accusations flew (by Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa) that Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, possibly the most respected and most high Islamic personality in the country, does NOT represent the party's spokesman ship anymore.
- The party also saw its members slide into mudslinging and in backstabbing that resulted in the Malaysian web sphere burning with such rage and angry ramblings.
- With most of the opposition supporters reeling in shock and awe against the leaders of the PAS who supports a probable alliance with the Umno, there is little to be seen but the innocent witchery that we witnessed since Saturday last.
What some PAS leaders did during the 55th Muktamar has shamed the opposition and silence Anwar Ibrahim while it has surely broken the heart of Tok Guru Nik Aziz.
(It) has been proven once again with what many see as a betrayal in clear broad daylight by the PAS against its PR partners.
Party KeAdilan Rakyat (PKR) Holds the KEY to National Government
The Party Keadilaan Rakyat (PKR) which is a 'National Party' but is mainly Malay dominated holds the other percentage that gives it a right to claim a share in the bridging of the Malay unity that the PAS is now claiming. Most of its members of Parliament and Legislative members are Malays and Muslims.
It is headed by the most popular Malay leader in the country and it does NOT support racial based politics.
PAS will NEVER achieve the ephemeral Malay unity in the country WITHOUT the PKR supporting its move to join the Umno in a coalition that will constitute a National Unity government in Malaysia.
The Chinese and Indian Voters Factor for PAS 's Bid for National Government
The other crude facts remains as follows:
The Chinese and Indian communities are basically the most united ones and they will probably remain united under the PR unless a major current of change occurs that will force the two communities to shift their allegiance back to the Barisan National (BN).
Lets speculate on the possible PAS-Umno coalition facing a PKR-DAP-Nik Aziz coalition.
- First of all, the Nik Aziz group in the PAS will most probably jump to the PKR, reinforcing the Malay power of the party but also consolidating its 'National stature' .
- We are yet to see any sudden abandonment of the PKR by the Chinese or Indian communities.
- The Indian community may be tempted to follow the 'race' based parties that have propped up, wooing the tiniest of Malaysian communities like never before. The PKR will surely lose some power but will NOT be reduced to what it was before the advent of Anwar Ibrahim as its de-facto chief.
- It is not a problem for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) since the DAP will be assured of its vote quota in any future elections . If the DAP is still with the PKR in the PR in the future, the DAP will gain a good number of seats that will fall off from the hands of the PAS-Umno coalition.
- The same is true of the PKR since it will garner the support of the pro-Nik Aziz supporters and other PAS members who are not happy with the way the 'Unity' government idea was given a new breather.
PAS will be the Loser in the PAS-UMNO Alliance
The PAS, which will surely be a split party with the possible conceptualization of the PAS-Umno alliance, will LOSE MORE votes.
And PAS will have to battle the Umno for seats that will be shared between them.
The fallout will be a large victory of the Umno against the PAS in their own seat sharing arrangements, thus posing a danger to the PAS. A danger so unprecedented that it may lose all in an alliance with the Umno, without the support of the PKR Malays.
Hence, will the PAS and the Umno launch themselves in the breaking of the PKR in the next few weeks?
The only way for the PAS-Umno coalition to survive the wrath of the pro-Anwar Malays and win the Chinese and Indian communities support will be the knocking off of the PKR's current leadership, which is possibly the next move that we may witness soon enough.
The Indonesian Experience
In normal democracies, the like in the UK and the US and even in Indonesia, it is RARE to find winning parties prostitute themselves to the losing parties. In the last General Elections in Indonesia, a perfectly groomed Islamic political party committed an unexpected political suicide by aligning itself to 'democratic' ideas and alienated the very ideas that helped it become a respected formation in the murky Indonesian landscape.
The Party Keadilaan Sejahtera (PKS) has since then been facing the doldrums of political debacle and is now forced to support the presidential bid of the current running Indonesian President Bambang Susilo Yudhyono. This has caused the party to split and to be reduced to mere nothing in the current political scenario in the country.
In Malaysia, the opposition PAS has decided to change its WINNING formula to join the LOSING party in the hope that it will uphold the eroding Malay political power.
Will it face the same fate like the PKS? Will its proposed alliance with the Umno backfire on it and burn it electorally?
If so, then it will not be premature to state that Muslim political parties does NOT have a real place in the 'democratic' sun of Asia.
PAS-UMNO Unity talks aimed at breaking Pakatan Rakyat and Nasharuddin Mat Isa KNOWS It
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Maybe Nasharuddin Mat Isa did not have the complete picture or was naïve. Or maybe he was too excited at sharing the same table with the former prime minister that he did not realise he and other Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) leaders were being played like violins.
But Nasharuddin Mat Isa fudged the truth when he spoke about the so-called unity talks between Umno and Pas.
Hearing him say it, it was a simple, honest discussion between Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang, Nasharuddin plus a few others on Malay and Muslim unity.
All very innocent.
Two Malay-based political parties trying to find some common ground after battling out for votes in Election 2008.
But fact is it there was NOTHING innocent about the unity talks last year, at least from the Umno point of view.
Abdullah, under pressure after Barisan Nasional’s dismal performance, was hoping to convince Pas leaders that in the wake of Election 2008 both Umno and Pas must ensure that the interests of Malays/Muslims must be safeguarded.
By doing so, he was hoping to loosen the ties between Pas and Pakatan Rakyat.
It was NOT a coincidence that Hadi and Nasharuddin were invited to the unity talks, and not Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat nor Husam Musa.
Hadi and Nasharuddin were identified as among Pas leaders who were suspicious of Opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim’s growing stature in Pakatan Rakyat.
Those familiar with the series of meetings at a government-owned house in Jalan Bellamy (Abdullah’s former residence when he was the foreign minister) recalled that the sodomy case against Anwar was also raised during discussions. It is uncertain why Abdullah brought up the matter but Umno officials said there was nothing sinister or underhanded.
It was just incidental. Still, from the outside, not difficult to reach the conclusion that all the information provided at the talks was aimed at driving a wedge between Pas and the Anwar-led Pakatan Rakyat.
Abdullah cannot be blamed. He was doing what any president of a party and leader of a coalition under pressure would do — find ways to WEAKDN the challenger.
If seeds of doubt were planted in the minds of Pas about the future of Malays and Muslims in Malaysia, or about the fitness of Anwar to lead the Opposition alliance, it would only benefit Umno/BN.
Abdullah’s strategy did not succeed because information about the meetings with Pas leaders was LEAKED and he was forced to confirm it sooner than he would have liked.
Nik Aziz, Husam and other Pas leaders still exuberant after Pakatan Rakyat’s strong showing in Election 2008 and believing that the future of the Islamic party lay with the DAP and PKR, shot down the idea of any pact or unity government with Umno.
But Umno officials and those in Pas sympathetic to unity talks were not to let the matter die. They argue that non-Malays have nothing to fear from common ground being achieved between Umno and Pas.
That sounds good in THEORY but judging by the nature of the first stage of unity talks between Abdullah and Pas leaders last year, it is quite clear that the interests of Chinese and Indians would have been sacrificed for the greater good of Malay/Muslim unity.
Why? Because political considerations are the single-most important factor driving the talks.
Nothing else matters.Nasharuddin Mat Isa KNOWS all this and MORE.
Not the political cost the unity talks would have on Pakatan Rakyat.
Not the feelings of the multitude of non-Malays who supported Pas candidates.
Not the future of the two party/coalition system in Malaysia.
PAS-UMNO Unity Government: A Stab at the Back of NON-Muslim Supporters of PAS
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When Pas wants to defend its decisions and policies, the party routinely cites Quranic verses and the experiences of the Prophet and the four revered caliphs.
So when it came to the contentious issue of unity talks with Umno, leaders for and against the scope and objective of the idea used equally compelling stories to justify their positions.
Quoting the Quran on Both Sides
"The Quran says that when your enemies act evilly against you, you must respond by doing good so that they may gradually come around to your side," argued pro-dialogue leader Datuk Harun Taib.
On the other side, Shah Alam member of parliament Khalid Samad warned the party not to fall for Umno's "tricks", pointing to how fourth caliph Ali Abu Talib was back-stabbed by arch-rival Muawiyah Abu Sufyan when the latter proposed his own "unity talks".
The debate was essentially on the conundrum between continuing a destructive fight against an old enemy and constructively engaging it.
Deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa rightly said the issue would continue to play on the minds of members and leaders long after the muktamar (assembly) was over.
"This is not the first time we are dealing with this issue and the party has experience managing differing opinions," Nasharuddin said at the end of the assembly.
Kelantan PAS's Bad Experience with UMNO
The wounds of Umno's "betrayal" are kept fresh to this day by leaders like Kota Baru MP Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah, who recounted the "dark days" when Umno ruled Kelantan up to 1990.
"They bullied us. They even once kidnapped five of our assemblymen to force them to cross over to Umno," claimed Wan Abdul Rahim.
A group of activists from Hulu Langat at the muktamar was uncomfortable with the idea, given the bad blood between the parties in the fight for control of the Malay community.
"Let's just say that once bitten, twice shy. Also, why do we need Umno? We've come so far as a party.Our struggle has gained traction among Muslims and now, non-Muslims are attracted to us because, to them, we don't play racial politics," says a Hulu Langat member in his 40s.
Nasharuddin, however, believes the party cannot close the door on Umno.
"There are still issues we can work on together for the nation's benefit. For instance, they had wanted ideas from us on how to boost the economy and we are working on those suggestions. But there are no plans to share power."
Though both sides have equally compelling stories, one of the most important is what the party tells the non-Muslims that it plans to court before the 2013 elections.
In the first-ever speech of its kind at a muktamar, Pas Supporters' Club deputy president Vincent Lee offered no stories. He warned the leadership that the 20,000 non-Muslim members the fledgling club had signed up were worried about the talk of an olive branch to Umno.
As the Hulu Langat activists said, non-Muslim support for Pas arises from their opposition to Umno.
So if Pas somehow manages to find it in its heart to start being friends with the old enemy, to the thousands of NEW NON-Muslim and Muslim fans it had gained, it will feel like a stab in the back.
Muktamar Gagal Selesaikan Masalah Sebenar Dalam PAS
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PAS telah terlepas peluang keemasannya apabila muktamar tahunan yang ke 55nya berlalu tanpa menyelesaikan secara tuntas isu hubungannya dengan Umno.
Para penyokong dan ahli parti itu terus keliru dan menerima mesej yang berpecah tentang isu itu walaupun muktamarnya telah berakhir.
Ia telah dipergunakan sepenuhnya oleh media yang dimiliki musuhnya untuk terus mengeliru dan memasukkan jarum-jarum perpecahan di kalangan mereka.
Ia bermula apabila Datuk Husam Musa menyertai pertandingan merebut jawatan timbalan presiden dengan alasan untuk menjelaskan halatuju parti itu kerana timbalan yang ada Nasharudin Mat Isa terlalu liberal dengan Umno bagi beliau. Sebagaimana diketahui, Husam bersama seorang lagi calon untuk jawatan itu, Mohamad Sabu tewas dan Nasharudin menang.
Signal yang dihantar kepada semua adalah perwakilan mahukan Nasharudin meneruskan hubungan liberalnya dengan Umno.
Nasharudin dalam laporan medianya pula terus berkata, beliau akan menyokong agenda kerajaan perpaduan yang dibawa oleh presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Sedangkan, sepanjang muktamar para perwakilan bercakap dengan lantang hatta ketika ucapan penangguhan, kerjasama atau hubungan dengan Umno memberikan signal yang salah kepada penyokong dan ahli parti itu di peringkat bawahan.
Timbalan Pengerusi Kelab Penyokong PAS (KPP), Vincent Lee yang bercakap bagi pihak orang bukan Islam yang menyokong parti Islam itu jelas memberikan kenyataan bahawa hubungan yang baik dengan Umno akan menjauhkan orang bukan Islam yang selama ini sudah menyokong PAS.
Ini kerana, orang bukan Islam memberikan sokongan kepada PAS kerana mereka tidak senang dengan lagak Umno selama ini. Jika PAS pula berbaik-baik dengan Umno bermakna PAS mengkhianati sokongan mereka kepada PAS selama ini.
Timbalan Ketua Dewan Muslimat yang baru menang Siti Zailah Yusof ketika memberikan ucapan penangguhan di hari terakhir muktamar itu semalam juga menegaskan agar PAS BERHENTI dari meneruskan rundingan dengan Umno, kalau ada, berhubung dengan kerajaan perpaduan ini. Zailah berkongsi pandangan bahawa langkah ini memberikan gambaran seolah-olah PAS mahu berbaik-baik dengan Umno yang selama ini menjadi musuh tradisi parti Islam itu.
Ketika membahaskan usul untuk menubuhkan suruhanjaya diraja bagi menyiasat rampasan kuasa terhadap kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat di Perak, perwakilan Selangor dari Shah Alam, Khalid Samad mengambil kesempatan sepenuhnya untuk menyerang pihak-pihak dalaman PAS yang cuba berbaik-baik dengan Umno.
Bagi beliau tindakan PAS akan mengelirukan penyokongnya sebagaimana kumpulan Muawiyah Abi Sufyan yang berjaya mengelirukan tentera Saidina Ali dalam peperangan Siffin dengan cara meletakkan Al Quran di atas tombak bagi menuntut perdamaian selepas mereka hampir kalah.
Kerana menghormati Al Quran, tentera Saidina Ali telah terpedaya dengannya.
"Apakah kita mahu mengulangi tragedi ini dengan menghantar mesej yang salah kepada penyokong kita padahal kita tahu musuh kita mahu memecahkan kita dengan cadangan perpaduan atau perdamaian atas nama Melayu dan Islam ini?" soal Khalid dalam membahaskan isu ini.
Yang perlu diperbahaskan dan mendapat kata putus secara tuntas dalam PAS adalah kerajaan perpaduan ini kerana inilah isu yang selama ini kelihatan perbezaan pendapat yang ketara di kalangan ahli dan pemimpin PAS sehingga sampai ke peringkat cabar mencabar dalam pucuk pimpinan PAS sendiri tetapi ia tidak dijadikan usul untuk dibahaskan.
Hasilnya, muktamar berlalu tetapi isu utamanya TIDAK selesai. Menurut maklumat yang saya terima sebuah negeri mahu mencadangkan agar PAS mengadakan muktamar khas bagi membincangkan isu ini.
Namun, bagi saya, PAS belum terlambat untuk menyelesaikan isu ini segera.
Empat pemimpin utama PAS perlu duduk semeja dengan segera dan membuat kenyataan bersama mengenainya. Mereka adalah Hadi dan Nasharudin di samping Mursyidul Am PAS, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat dan Husam.
Ke empat-empat mereka perlu mencapai kata sepakat segera sebelum tafsiran yang berbagai-bagai terus berligar di kepala penyokong dan ahlinya.
Ketika membentuk kabinet baru pasca muktamar PAS ke 55 juga, Hadi dan Nasharudin boleh bertindak menyelesaikan segera isu ini dengan JANGAN sesekali mengenepikan tokoh-tokoh PAS yang kalah terutama Husam dan Mohamad Sabu.
Hilangnya mereka dari kabinet baru PAS sekali lagi akan menghantar signal yang salah kepada penyokong mereka.
Yang paling saya bimbang adalah kalau-kalau Erdogan benar-benar wujud dalam PAS. Yang dibimbangi kalau-kalau Erdogan dalam PAS ini sependapat dengan Erdogan di Turki dan menubuhkan parti baru yang lebih liberal sebagaimana tertubuhkan AK di Turki yang berpecah dari Refah (kini Fadhilat) dan memenangi pilihan raya di negara itu.
Kepada mereka, suka saya katakan kebimbangan saya, kejayaan di Turki tidak semestinya membolehkan idea ini membawa kejayaan di Malaysia. Saya lebih cenderung parti baru di Malaysia akan senasib dengan Hamim dan Berjasa sahaja.
Jika perpecahan ini benar-benar berlaku, maka sahlah teori bahawa PAS akan kalah teruk dalam pilihan raya ke 13 selepas menang besar dalam PRU-12 lalu. Teori ini hanya mengulangi sejarah pilihan raya PAS yang akan kalah teruk selepas menang besar sebelumnya.
- Zulkifli Sulong