December 30, 2015
COMMENT: Will this union of sorts happen in 2016? It may because Prime Minister Najib Razak desperately wants to secure his position by rallying Malay support via PAS mullaism. To achieve his aim the Prime Minister is prepared to ignore the concerns of MCA, MIC and Gerakan and other secular parties in Barisan Nasional about Hudud. Fancy having a fanatic as Deputy Prime Minister No. 2 at the expense of his loyal Deputy, Dr. Zahid Hamidi.
For Prime Minister Najib, it is a small price to pay to remain in power. With one stroke, Najib is able to dilute Zahid’s influence and keep him in check. For Ustaz Abdul Hadi, it will be his last attempt to be in Putrajaya, after failing to take control in 2008 when PAS was with Pakatan Rakyat.
Is this arrangement with PAS is sustainable? I wonder. Of greater concern to me is: will there be a GE-14 given Najib’s unpopularity among Malaysians and factionalism within UMNO? If he knows that he may not win in the next general election, why must Prime Minister Najib have one in 2018? To me, the passage of the NSC Bill by the Senate after Dewan Rakyat had earlier voted in the Bill is a clear signal that the Prime Minister is has something in mind as back-up. Of course, I hope I am wrong about this. What do you, my blog readers, think? Am I like a little shephard crying wolf?–Din Merican
What PAS Wants Out of UMNO–Hudud and Power Sharing
by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee
Desperadoes shaking hands
We are seeing today the biggest happening to take place in Malay and Muslim politics in a long time. It has upheaval effects that can potentially reshape Malaysian politics and society. This is the courtship of PAS and its enigmatic President Abdul Hadi Awang by the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Najib Abdul Razak. The seduction line held out: in bed together, we can advance Islamic and Malay unity.
The reason why Najib is doing this is clear. In addition to gerrymandering, vote-buying and other forms of electoral trickery, Najib needs an insurance policy to ensure that UMNO retains power in the coming election. Desertion by UMNO’s supporters alone could lead to a possible loss of power. Having Hadi by his side and a partnership with PAS could stem the UMNO haemorrhage arising from the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation debacles, and see the party’s rank and file refrain from abstaining or voting against the ruling government. It could also produce the bonus of having PAS supporters vote against whatever opposition coalition that finally emerges. In effect this is a double whammy against the opposition and a winning strategy for Najib.
But what is in it for PAS in what looks to me like a Faustian bargain for both sides? After all, they have been implacable enemies for much of the history of the two parties. An early episode of collaboration in 1973 following the restoration of parliamentary government proved to be disastrous for PAS. Since then the party – together with the DAP – has borne the brunt of the Barisan’s arsenal of dirty tricks weaponry, including arbitrary imprisonment of opposition leaders, and marginalization and discrimination of the electorate voting for the opposition.
So what then is in it for PAS’s present leadership that can overcome the history of ideological differences and bitter rivalry? Firstly, we should not be fooled by the light and sound show on hudud put out by Hadi Awang and his men. This is not the real cause of the breakup with Pakatan Rakyat and the DAP. Hadi knows that there is no prospect of hudud being implemented because the individuals and groups that will be affected most by the imposition of hudud law will come mainly from UMNO; and perhaps from PAS too.
Hudud was used as an opening gambit in getting out of the Pakatan coalition. It has served its purpose and is now being put on the backburner. Replacing it is the siren song of a purer and larger Islamic agenda that can help cleanse UMNO and national politics.
The prize that Hadi and his followers are after is not a backroom or advisory role as may be construed from his speeches and most recently in the interview he gave to Utusan which received front page sidebar prominence.
No More Above
In Hudud style after this with UMNO-PAS Tie-Up
Coveted are the positions of power, privilege and dominance that come with an electoral victory with UMNO. At the top at federal level we presently have one Deputy Prime Minister. Najib will provide for two to reward Hadi should the latter deliver the anticipated havoc to the opposition’s vote in the coming election. Along with the DPM-ship there will be minimally several deputy ministerships and political secretaryships for Hadi’s closest supporters. Especially desired too are the lucrative and well-heeled positions in the Islamic agencies and bodies which have proliferated in the civil service during the last two decades.
But it is at the state level where the electoral pact with UMNO could produce the most gains. PAS-led or UMNO-PAS coalition-led state governments would offer rapid upward mobility for many party members. The younger members have seen how UMNO’s ulama graduate followers have done well. Understandably they are impatient and hungry for their turn at access to power, wealth and fortune with an Islamic face.
Thus it is not surprising that PAS Youth has been one of the first groups in the party to react positively to Najib’s proposal of cooperation between the nation’s largest Malay-based parties.
Youth chief Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz has noted that the offer of cooperation marks a new page in Malaysian politics, which will benefit the Muslim community. It will certainly benefit him and other PAS leaders. “We accept the Prime Minister’s offer because previously anything that was proposed by the opposition was rejected wholesale by those in power. We welcome the call for closer ties on condition that the cooperation is based on religious values as religion is a core part of Malaysian life. So we support what the government wants to implement as long as it is for the greater good”, he is reported by Utusan Malaysia as saying.
To justify his stand, Nik Abduh who is the son of the late PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has argued that PAS has already agreed with UMNO on various issues, including its stand against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
It appears that the fruit has fallen far from the tree in him and the current party leadership since both have not taken any stand on the 1MBD, RM2.6 billion donation into the Prime Minister’s personal account, YaPEIM scandals, GST imposition and other scandals and controversies which have been much more costly to the nation than the groups condemned as sexual deviants.
Will all the leaders as well as the grassroots of PAS be easily seduced by the “cash is king” lure?PAS Deputy President Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has continued to speak out against Najib and the Government in recent press statements issued in his personal name, so that apart from the Amanah outcasts, there is still some opposition within the party to Hadi’s dalliance with UMNO.
Will there be a generational split with the older members seeing through the proposed bridal bedroom curtains to reject a suitor that has consistently paid lip service to faithfulness and moral behavoir and has a long record of disloyalty, infidelity, cuckoldry and worse? These are tantalizing questions for which the answers should not be long in coming.