No victory without PAS, no victory without DAP

Nathaniel Tan

Modified 27 Jan 2017, 9:13 am

COMMENT I have written a lot about how it is important to make PAS part of any serious effort to topple BN in the near future, usually in a manner critical of those who seem to believe otherwise.

Today it is time to call out those in PAS who believe, equally delusionally, that significant, meaningful change is possible without working together with all major opposition parties.

Sadly, there are no shortage of examples of such individuals of late.

Starting most recently with the very top, Abdul Hadi Awang himself who on the eve of Chinese New Year rejected out of hand any possibility whatsoever of working with DAP.

This comes on the heels of two more individuals in PAS who have basically been playing the same tune - Nasruddin Hassan and Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki.

Nasruddin is well-known for some allegedly very backward, narrow-minded views. He has come across over the years as the kind of man more preoccupied with Adam Lambert and Elton John concerts, short skirts and the like.

Surely we respect all religious views, but taking the view that these are the most pressing problems a Malaysian political party should be focused on suggests at the very least a severe lack of perspective.

Zuhdi on the other hand has an even less illustrious legacy, being the man who seemed to get a little too excited about the prospects of ‘jentik’ and ‘sergah’ the groups he termed as “DAP, gereja dan non-Muslim”.

Needless to say, this is racist and bigoted in the extreme.

Bridging our largest divide

It is no surprise that these are the loud voices that want to maintain the sour relationships between PAS and DAP.

In so many societies and power structures in history, there are always those who prefer war over peace because war benefits themselves more, no matter how much it hurts everyone else.

I have talked ad nauseam about how trying to win the next GE without PAS is mathematically nearly impossible.

Today is perhaps a good time to balance this with an equal exhortation to PAS that continuing to reject DAP and everyone else is equally a path to irrelevance.

We need hardly bother discuss how three-cornered fights will just about wipe out everyone except Barisan Nasional, creating the ultimate lose-lose situation.

The way Hadi and others are talking, they seem to think that there may be some sort of value to forming some coalition with Bersatu and PKR, without DAP.

I think this is equally short-sighted and meaningless as DAP trying to form a pact with Bersatu and PKR without PAS.

I suppose there is a common theme here, and it is a tragically ironic one.

In essence, the two most important parties that could help unite us - the ones that together would represent the largest range of Malaysians (on the peninsular at least), crossing the divide between rural and urban areas, Malays and non-Malays, conservatives and progressives - are the two parties that just can’t put their differences aside for the greater good.

Arguably, PKR, Bersatu and the like, add value mostly as moderators. By themselves, they do not command the kind of brand loyalty and machinery that DAP and PAS have built up so strongly.

Was PAS betraying its’ principles in GE13?

The other tragedy is how the previous voices of reason within PAS have all now left to form a largely ineffectual party of their own - a move which also contributed significantly to the current impasse.

We can only hope that even without them, there are some people in PAS who are not all wrapped up in a cocoon of ignorance, ‘katak bawah tempurung’ style.

There is nothing wrong in a political party that is built explicitly on a certain set of principles to want to further those principles.

There are times though, that we need to question whether people arguing that a certain course of action is necessary truly represent those principles, or a more narrow-minded self-interest.

The people in PAS today are the same ones who fought under the Pakatan Rakyat banner in 2013, when everything was fine and dandy between PAS, DAP and PKR.

Arguing that working with DAP today is abandoning principles is akin to saying that not so long ago, all those same people had already betrayed their principles for political expediency.

I believe this wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

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