ADUN SPEAKS Whether the BN component parties have reached a consensus or not to support PAS' private member's hudud bill later in Parliament remains to be seen.
Prime Minister Najib Razak might have said that hudud law might contravene the constitution, but then in politics, with shifting alliances and double-deals, anything is possible.
Just like the way PAS has backstabbed DAP and PKR, even though hudud was not within the framework of Pakatan's common policy.
Even if the private member's bill does not get the support of the BN component parties including Umno, fact remains that PAS has already successfully passed the amendments at the Kelantan state assembly with the support of 12 Umno members and one from PKR. How PKR is going to deal with this "sore thumb" remains to be seen.
Within the BN, MCA, Gerakan and not so much MIC, are vehemently opposed to hudud. They have taken the matter to court for hudud to be declared ultra vires the constitution. Najib might wait for the matter to be heard in court before he decides whether to support or not to support the bill.
Of course, Najib is not operating in a safe and friendly atmosphere; politically things are not going well for him. Scandals after scandals are rocking the government. Foreign debts are mounting despite the sweet talk by the Bank Negara governor. I think she wants to please her political bosses.
Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohammed, the so-called retired and irritating former prime minister, wants his "pound of flesh" from Najib. He thinks that Najib should resign for the 1MDB scandal, for not arresting the political and social developments that have led to a historic polarisation in communal relations and the ostentatious recent marriage ceremony of his daughter's wedding which some have described as akin to a royal wedding.
How desperate is Najib?
If Najib is desperate to shore up political support, then there is a possibility he might advise Umno members to the support hudud bill in Parliament, even at the expense of alienating BN component parties like the MCA and Gerakan.
MIC members, too engrossed in the fratricidal fight between president G Palanivel and his deputy S Subramaniam, are not bothered about hudud. I doubt given the obsequiousness of Gerakan, MCA and for that matter MIC, these parties would have the guts to leave the BN fold even if Umno's MPs support the private member's bill.
The ultimate question for Najib and his close advisors is not so much to weaken the Pakatan coalition before the next general election, but to nail PAS. PAS, and not so much PKR, has been the main competitor for the votes in the Malay heartland for a long time.
Anyway, so far Umno has succeeded in weaning PAS away from the Pakatan coalition, but the next question is how to weaken and render PAS an ineffective as an impotent party for Malays and Muslims in the country.
If Umno supports the private member's bill, then PAS might make some political gains at least for a limited period. If it does not support the bill citing whatever reasons, then it would have succeeded in clipping the political wing of PAS.
From Umno's point of view, its ephemeral interest in hudud is merely about drawing in PAS, splitting the opposition and then killing off PAS permanently in the Malaysian political scenario as a political or Islamic alternative to Malays.
Damage in Pakatan beyond repair
By enticing PAS to go for the amendments to the Syariah law in the Kelantan state assembly, Umno has ruptured the relations between PAS and DAP. While politics is often described as the "art of the possible", it is not going to be possibly for PAS and DAP to seek some kind of détente in the near future.
Unless of course, there is radical transformation in the forthcoming PAS's general assembly where the so-called professional or moderate faction overthrows the conservative faction currently headed by party chief Abdul Hadi Awang.
However, PAS' by its sheer greed and political opportunism has caused irreparable damage to the coalition of Pakatan; an alternative coalition that has endeared itself to both Malays and non-Malays.
PAS by displaying its sheer opportunism has shown to Malaysians it is party that cannot be trusted to deliver the country from corruption, scandals and mismanagement. As a matter of fact, it is not even an alternative to the racist Umno!
It is obscurantist and medieval party that is intellectually incapable of paving a good future for Malaysia.
P RAMASAMY is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang and the assemblyperson for Perai.