May 15, 2016
Azmin’s call for PAS-Pakatan reunion–A PKR’s Desparate Act
by Scott Ng
PKR has become something of a sideshow since Anwar was sent to prison. With Party President Wan Azizah and her faction turning their attention to a futile campaign for Anwar’s release, Azmin Ali and his clique have emerged to become the dominant representative voice of the party.–Scott Ng
Chegubard– Azmin-led coup to topple PKR President Wan Azizah
The return of BN to dominance in Sarawak was not merely an open embrace of Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s policies and ideology, but also a steadfast rejection of the opposition as it stands now. There is plenty of blame to go around, but the opposition parties cannot deny that a major reason behind their failure to get enough support from voters was their inability to present a united front in the face of BN’s electoral juggernaut.
We can talk about misconduct, outright bribery and chicanery, but ultimately, the opposition parties failed to galvanize support on the ground because they were too preoccupied with the ego-stroking exercise of trying to extort more seats from each other. The tussle between PKR and DAP put off many voters, and despite calls for reconciliation from their leaders, there is a profound sense that this particular issue is far from over.
A lot of it has to do with the change in PKR’s power structure and its need to show that it’s not subservient to DAP, which has thus far been the spear point of Pakatan Harapan with its widespread Chinese support and clearly visible representatives. PKR has become something of a sideshow since Anwar was sent to prison. With Party President Wan Azizah and her faction turning their attention to a futile campaign for Anwar’s release, Azmin Ali and his clique have emerged to become the dominant representative voice of the party.
In many ways, PKR desperately needed a big win in Sarawak to shore up its waning reputation, but its inability to win any new seat speaks volumes of what people think of this new, aggressive PKR. Many observers have noted Azmin’s ambitious streak, and this has worked against him. There is a sense of discontent with the Menteri Besar among Selangorians, who see him in the headlines for everything but his work for the state. What we do hear of his work involves a lot of the tolled highways we protested against and which Pakatan leaders swore they would never allow.
In his latest major political statement, Azmin pleaded with PAS to rejoin the opposition coalition for the next general election. But DAP and Amanah are not likely to entertain the suggestion given PAS’ persona non grata approach to the two parties.
Let’s assume that PAS is even open the notion of rejoining an opposition coalition. Without establishing common ground rules and a mutual ideological stand, we will end up with the same problem sooner or later. Hadi Awang’s pride and his inability to evolve ideologically will always remain a point of friction between his party and Amanah and DAP.
Truly, aggressive promotion for Amanah should be the opposition’s current task. PAS is a party divided on the notion of working with UMNO, and Amanah could prove to be the better deal for many ideological purists who reject BN and UMNO.
In all likelihood, this is Azmin’s play for a stronger position for his faction come GE14. As it stands now, DAP and PAS are the most powerful of the opposition parties. One assumes that the tussle for seats in the Sarawak election has indicated to Azmin that PKR lacks strength at the negotiation table. He probably reckons that with PAS on his side, his PKR faction would hold significant influence over DAP.
Regardless, Azmin’s call for PAS to rejoin the fold is unlikely to endear him further to an already sceptical public. Azmin’s reputation for being ambitious makes him one to be held at arm’s length, as evidenced by the reaction to the notion of his becoming Menteri Besar in the run-up to GE 13 and during the Selangor MB crisis. This call will be seen as another power ploy.
Either way, there’s some truth in his words. The opposition coalition cannot afford to be fractured like it was in Sarawak or it will lose what little it has in Peninsular Malaysia as well.