COMMENTARY, June 25 ― It looks like there will be no big tent ― that construct of political parties holding different views working together ― in the upcoming general election and this will work against Opposition parties that have no grassroot followers.
PAS’s ulama chief Datuk Hashim Jasin’s said the party should campaign under its own “clean” moon logo which seems to imply that sharing Perikatan Nasional's (PN) logo will “dirty” the party's Islamist credentials.
This was why the party performed badly, in fact very poorly, in the Melaka and Johor state elections where it joined forces with PN against Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN).
The Islamist party did not win a single seat in those two state elections.
This comes on the heels of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Rafizi Ramli’s suggestion that the party use its own logo in the coming general election.
Rafizi rejected outright the big tent, a move that is seen as the party disassociating itself from DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah). PKR, just like PAS, performed poorly in both Melaka and Johor.
In short, PKR and PAS feel they can do better on their own.
The opinions of these two party leaders goes against Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s call for all Opposition parties to come under one big tent to fight BN.
Muhyiddin’s plan is not to allow BN to face several parties which he feels is the only way to defeat the once ruling coalition which was defeated in the last general election in 2018.
However, his idea did not go down well as Bersatu itself is not a party that is capable of leading the Opposition pack under the big tent proposal. It seems to be more of a personal agenda than an Opposition strategy, according to political activists and members of several parties.
Bersatu is a party that is top heavy ― all generals and too few soldiers ― was formed in 2016 to try and replace Umno but failed miserably.
Many observers see Muhyiddin’s proposal of a big tent as a means for his party to survive given that the party has failed to chip away Umno’s support so the need for “friends” to help it stay afloat.
It managed to woo PAS into its fold once, managing to get the Islamist party away from Umno and making Muafakat Nasional (MN) ― a co-operation between Umno and PAS ― dead in the water.
And now there are those in PAS suggesting a “separation not amounting to a divorce” from Bersatu.
In the meantime, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was once head of Bersatu and has set up his own party Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) ― is seeking ties with any organisation ― political or not ― in a bid to survive.
Barring any last minute change of hearts and minds among leaders of the Opposition and parties in PN, their recent decisions may cost them their own political death.
And BN may just walk away the winner.