Malaysiakini Letter

Union the beginning of the end for Umno and PAS

Phar Kim Beng
Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Politics is the art of the impossible. There are no permanent friends nor enemies, but only permanent interests, as Otto Von Bismarck once declared.

A week is an eternity in politics. Whatever unites will divide, whatever divides will unite, according to the Romance of The Three Kingdom. Much has been said about the ephemeral and transient nature of politics for centuries.

Malaysia, both a historical and modern construct, does not stand apart. Whether it is measured from a history that started from 1511, 1957 or 1963, Malaysia cannot run away from the logic of the above: whatever that will break, will break.

In the case of PAS and Umno's marriage, they are breaking even before they begin. First, almost all their top leaders are implicated in some forms of criminal breach of trust. If the facts follow the evidence, PAS is on a downward spiral, like their new partners Umno.

The monies that allegedly passed through their hands verge on the billions. The sheer amounts will invariably incentivise the earnest bureaucrats in the MACC, Bukit Aman's Commercial Crimes Investigation Department and the Attorney General's Chambers to get to the bottom of the issue.

If pursued with relentless discipline, these cases are likely to thrust investigating and enforcement officers to the pinnacle of their bureaucratic careers. So why wouldn't they make mincemeat out of the larceny of PAS and Umno? 

For the lack of a better phrase, Umno and PAS are screwed. Their position of weakness is precisely why they have huddled together.

When cornered with criminal investigations, one is likely to hug and hold on to one's closest buxom buddies, to not rat each other out. They are at that phase now. But it won't last.

They face a 93-year-old prime minister who wants to end their ties, but they try to resurface to blight his anti-kleptocratic legacy.

Indeed, with Umno and PAS behaving like street rats, it is little wonder that no Islamic parties or countries worth their weight have supported them.

Just a few months ago, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was still vying for the role of the presidency of the world ulama congress. He lost. His defeat was an indictment of his pernicious and petulant politics of trying to be a kingmaker.

Islam is built on enhancing dignity and preventing shame, promoting virtue and prohibit vice.

In fact, while Muslims are encouraged not to shame each other, Muslims are also encouraged to be the mirror of good behaviour to one another. PAS and Umno are now mirror-images of thievery and kleptocracy.

In the last general election, the electoral turn out was close to 84 percent. Why? Because Malaysians are all against outright larceny and theft. You steal, we kill (your political careers). Full stop.

Thus it is wrong to assume that one plus one leads to two in politics. Umno is a negative; as it is struggling from a litany of lawsuits.

PAS is also experiencing a moral deficit. Adding two negatives do not even give you a break-even of a zero, let alone, any advantage.

Anwar Ibrahim, the incoming prime minister, in this sense has hinted at something simple yet powerful. Grow the economy across all groups and races, and the PAS and Umno union is kaput.

If PAS and Umno are so strong, as some analysts are suggesting, they are merely entrapped in 'white panic.'

Besides, when Umno and PAS consolidate their current relationship, which is fractured with moral and structural faultlines, Sabah and Sarawak will bid them adieu.

If the politicians in Sabah and Sarawak do become friendly to PAS and Umno, they better get used to the coffee served by MACC and the CCID. 

Most analysts in Malaysia are looking at the mathematics of two parties joining forces. But they neglect the sordid past which the two parties must now disentangle from either the courts or the court of public opinion in Malaysia and the world.

To those who say PAS and Umno can be a force in the new Malaysia, the rebuttal should be similar to what MK Gandhi said when asked what he thought about Western civilisation. "That seems like a good idea."

PAS and Umno, fit the mould of Gandhi's retort. They seem like a good idea. But guess what? They are not even shameful of their baleful politics. Thus, as time goes on, the voters will punish them again.

Thus, how can they win over the trust of the whole country? Two or three by election victories do not a general election campaign make. 

PAS and Umno are beginning to see the beginning of their end. They are now locked in a mutual death pact.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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