PAS under friendly fire
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDERBy Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — PAS is facing a huge fallout with its partners in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) over the rekindling of unity government talks with Umno at its muktamar last weekend.
Its call for the banning of Islamic feminist non-governmental organisation Sisters in Islam (SIS) has also drawn fire from PKR.
Both DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the ex-Umno minister who has become a leading and influential voice for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters, chided PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for persisting with seeking cooperation with Umno as a solution to national issues.
Lim, the Penang chief minister, called for PAS to explain its stand on the unity talks at the next PR meeting next week.
At the muktamar, Hadi had claimed that DAP and PKR had agreed to such a proposal but Lim insisted that such a thing had never been raised within PR.
“PAS owe us an explanation. Being a religious man, he not only has to answer to DAP but also to God,” Lim said.
Zaid, whose resignation from the Cabinet and subsequent sacking from Umno has made him an icon for the opposition, warned PAS against over-confidence or else the fledgling PR coalition could end up being just another version of the Umno-dominated Barisan Nasional (BN).
The former de facto law minister says that the three PR components are only strong because of the partnership and they should avoid tussling for dominance or risk becoming like BN whom he described as being unable to adapt to the current political landscape.
He said Hadi had ignored the feelings of the party’s spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and other leaders who had opposed a unity government with Umno.
“Without hesitation, he defended the unity talks with such confidence. But for me, Hadi has become over-confident,” Zaid wrote in a blog posting today.
He applauded the ambition of the party in its plans to build an RM27 million complex in Putrajaya, penetrate Sabah and Sarawak, and accept non-Muslims as members.
But he said that if any one party dominated PR, then it would emulate the culture within BN, where the direction was decided only by Umno.
“That is why they have problems finding a new formula. To change, we need to accept different views from our partners.
“Pakatan does not need a dominant party. No party in Pakatan can beat their chest and say they are strong even if they stood alone. Let them be humble and accept that they are all equal and need each other,” he said.
PKR vice-president Azmin Ali had also said on Friday that while it was not against dialogue with anyone, any cooperation by PR would stop short of a unity government with BN.
Today, another vice president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub slammed the Islamic party for its motion asking SIS to be banned and members to be rehabilitated.
“Differing and dissenting views are not only allowed but should be protected as these are the essence of a democratic, fair and just society. The correct way is to engage and debate with any organisation in a mature and civilised manner rather than seek for its ban and punishment for its members,” he said, adding that the resolution should be reviewed.
The PR alliance was formed last year after the three parties won a combined 81 seats and five states in the general election with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as opposition leader.
But PAS has trumpeted Hadi as its prime minister-elect and the continued talk of forming a unity government with BN is causing a schism within the coalition.