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Future of Pakatan in the balance

It has now become more and more apparent that PAS and DAP don’t play well together. Ever since the Selangor Menteri Besar imbroglio, blows have been traded repeatedly ad nauseam.

Over the past few weeks, the issue on the table has been PAS president Hadi Awang’s absence from Pakatan Rakyat presidential council meetings

In all fairness, Hadi is an elderly man and is thus more prone to sicknesses. For the sake of the betterment of Pakatan, shouldn’t Hadi temporarily delegate his ultimate decision-making power to a trusted right hand man? Or at least step down in order that a physically fit person may take the helm?

Yes, PAS does send its representatives (namely deputy president Mohamad Sabu and vice-president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man) for Pakatan presidential council meetings. However, if you have been following the recent criticisms by DAP, it centres around Hadi having veto power and yet being absent from the meetings

Basically, whatever is agreed upon by the PAS representatives in the presidential council meetings may be overruled by Hadi at the end of the day. Thus, DAP has a valid point when it says that a Pakatan presidential council meeting without Hadi is akin to PAS being absent.

It is clearly undemocratic for a political party leader to have veto power in every matter considering other leaders are also elected by the members of the party. As cliched as it sounds, there is a lot of truth to the saying, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton)

If PAS refuses to sort out the aforementioned issues, Pakatan’s effectiveness as a coalition would undeniably be adversely affected, and Pakatan may need to reconsider its composition. After all, you can’t join the school but refuse to wear the uniform!

Just like when Britain entered the European Union (then known as the European Community) in 1973, it had to subject itself to EU treaties, regulations, directives, and European Court of Justice (ECJ) decisions despite having done things its own way for centuries

A good example of Pakatan’s effectiveness being hindered would be when the Pakatan presidential council accepted the proposal for Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to be nominated as the new Selangor MB, and Hadi ended up vetoing the decision and nominating candidates of his liking.

Another problematic issue is PAS’ continuous insistence on implementing hudud. Prior to the 13th general election, PAS seemed to have abandoned its hudud agenda by pursuing a benevolent state concept.

Needless to say, the whole ‘PAS For All’ election slogan, gained PAS the votes of many non-Muslims who were unsure of PAS yet wanted a regime change. However, after GE13, PAS reverted back to advocating hudud.

Moving on without PAS?

Since PAS is seriously considering implementing hudud in Kelantan and has taken many steps to realise it (e.g. a federal-level hudud technical committee, finalising that ‘trained professionals’ will be carrying out the amputations), it is high time for PKR and DAP to consider whether to move on without PAS.

PAS’s move may gain support from the more hard line Islamists, but it is sure to cause loss of votes for Pakatan because DAP and PKR will be seen as being inable to influence PAS to abandon its wishes for hudud.

A Pakatan without PAS would most definitely appeal to the more progressive Malaysians. Will we see a Pakatan coalition without PAS/DAP? Or will we see Pakatan end up just like Barisan Alternatif? Or will Pakatan learn how to sort out its differences and work together? Only time will tell

On a side note, if Kelantan Umno supports PAS’s efforts (which is has in the past), it is time for MCA, MIC, and Gerakan to reconsider its partnership in BN. After all, what’s the point of being in a coalition if your view doesn’t matter?


JOSHUA WU is a first year law student who blogs at www.rebuttedopinions.wordpress.com

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