There can be no seat negotiation with PAS

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Healey’s First Law of Holes: When in one, stop digging.”

- Denis Healey

I would argue that PAS’ threat of “shared consequences” if there is no negotiation with this Islamic cult masquerading as a political party, is the best thing that could happen to Pakatan Harapan, or whatever the coalition is called now.

After months of squabbling with former ally DAP, manipulating PKR and unofficially becoming a component member of BN, all PAS wants to do now is remain politically relevant to Umno and maintain an electoral foothold in the landscape that was made during the period they acted like a functional member of the opposition alliance.

This warning to Pakatan of “shared consequences” is merely a desperate attempt to maintain power so that they can continue this dance with a hobbled opposition and continue extorting whatever it can from the Najib regime.

I would argue the possibility of losing state power is better in the end than continuing dealing with a supposed ally that has Umno strings attached to it. Furthermore, if PAS loses relevance to Umno then another piece on the chessboard is removed and the opposition front can function more cohesively instead of dealing with an ally whose every move seems to be synchronised with Putrajaya.

No doubt, PKR and Bersatu would take this opportunity to continue their attempts to build bridges, although Bersatu has signalled that there is a time limit as to how long they would be willing to deal with PAS. Meanwhile, PKR continues to function as though PAS is still part of the alliance although which alliance has always been a matter of perspective.

Now I hope that since PAS has said that it would negotiate with anybody except Amanah, DAP does not seriously consider getting into a marriage of convenience with PAS. When DAP’s Tony Pua spoke of “giving time to those who want to negotiate with that party”, I hope he does not include DAP in “those” as I mentioned in my earlier piece.

“Of course, when DAP’s Tony Pua says this: (a) "How do we trust a party that is unprincipled, that only wants its bread to be buttered on both sides and wants to use its partners to attain its own selfish interests?" and then adds this: (b) "However, DAP understands the importance of one-to-one fights in the general elections. That’s why we agreed to give time to those who still want to negotiate with that party...” meaning because one-to-one fights is politically advantageous to us, we do not mind dealing with unprincipled backstabbers, it all gets rather messy and points to the dysfunction of the opposition.”

DAP could theoretically bury the hatchet with PAS and work out some sort of electoral arrangement but if PAS is thinking that this would gain them non-Malay/Muslim, then PAS and DAP are seriously underestimating the current mood of the opposition voting public.

Besides, for better or worse, Amanah and the DAP are joined at the hip. DAP consorting with PAS in any way makes Amanah look weak, plays into the hands of Umno propagandists and signals that Harapan is weaker than it is.

While it may have taken DAP some time to acknowledge PAS’ Janus nature, PSM on the other hand learnt the hard way that dealing with PAS in a multi-cornered fight was toxic and their tactics unbecoming for a religious party robed in ethical conduct that the PAS leadership and supporters claim to be. Indeed, PSM's Mohd Nasir Hashim told me that their tactics were worse than Umno’s...

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