PAS the lamb in Bersatu-Umno spat

APRIL 22 — The minister spoke truth. A PAS minister at that!

"Which party does not want to expand its area of control?"

Uttered by the plantations and commodity minister it seems philosophical and no more.

When the same minister is also PAS’ strategic director, then eyebrows are raised. 

Of course, parties want more power but at the expense of what?

Because the same line was used by the Chinese Communist Party before annexing Tibet in 1950.

Though Khairuddin Aman Razali refers to domestic politics only, he remains offensive.

But why does he pledge racial domination?

Perhaps because his party is too deep inside Perikatan Nasional’s overt ethnocentricity. Incredulity aside, was PAS swept along by the infamous Sheraton Move?

Because as junior partner in a race love union, PAS is consigned as the dullest point of this trident.

A PAS supporter walks near PAS flags at the 65th Muktamar in Kuantan June 22, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
A PAS supporter walks near PAS flags at the 65th Muktamar in Kuantan June 22, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

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Nevertheless, being PAS it does not care.

The vagaries of coalition dynamics were always beyond a party inclined to faith, not process or structure.

It remains a blind-spot, a big huge one which prevents PAS from leading the country.

Neither Umno nor Bersatu want to be second in command in the long run, they are competitors. PAS looks on forlorn.

Umno and Bersatu battle by proxy in the media and quietly among leaders, to assume the mantle of national leadership, while PAS is the bride the two need to secure national power.

They will tell PAS what it needs to hear, and it will tell the other parties — Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Sabah parties, MCA, MIC and Gerakan — whatever they need to hear.

Race unity is the means to national power, not the ends for both Umno and Bersatu.

Condemned to repeat, thank you history

Before returning to PAS’ present situation, let’s travel back to its experiences with unity governments. Abdul Razak Hussein’s overture for a grand coalition following the 1969 May 13 Riots, drew support from PAS. Malay unity to emphasise Malay leadership over multicultural parties led by minorities.

Barisan Nasional (BN) was founded in 1973, incidentally Khairuddin’s birth-year.

In the 1974 general elections, PAS won 13 seats. By the 1978 general elections, PAS broke off acrimoniously from BN, and was duly annihilated in Kelantan as splitter party Berjasa ganged up with Umno.

By 1982, PAS president Asri Muda was defeated after sitting through the party’s loss of purpose following BN’s exodus.

At the 1986 general elections, PAS hit a nadir, to only win one seat — Kelantan’s Pengkalan Chepa.   

It’s obvious PAS was naïve, to assume Umno holds Malay unity above its personal ambitions to be the only viable Malay party. Umno’s verily keeps PAS near to infiltrate the party and turn its members on itself.

Which it did.

It repeated the error with Pakatan Rakyat during the 2008-2015 tenure. PAS’ sustained success in the west coast — formed governments in Penang, Perak and Selangor, and won previously impossible parliamentary seats like Titiwangsa, Bukit Gantang, Sepang — ironically ruptured the party. Their leaders were torn between party and coalition, and eventually split as Amanah.

No U-Turns on this ride

So, while PAS plans a grand Malay-only GE15 triumph followed by Constitutional amendments to cement race priority, don’t forget who’s in the driving seat.

Not PAS.

In an analogy, mummy and daddy are fighting at the wheels while screaming at Teddy the PAS member at the back, shouting they’re a family no matter what.

As such, Umno and Bersatu will perpetually be in discussions with PAS till the Dewan Rakyat dissolves.

Umno and Bersatu in parallel, will insist on a multicultural Malaysia best led by either of them.

Their leaders last week were busy wishing happy new year to Tamils, Sikhs and any other ethnic Indians spotted. Next month, despite Raya events, they’d wish and attend Kaamatan and Gawai events.

Umno and Bersatu play both games and they play against each other, to become Malaysia’s  Malay number one.

Yes, the minister was quite right. However, Khairuddin needs to know, his truths are other people’s truths also. 

PAS is not the only one that wants to expand its control, or at least try.

Both Umno and Bersatu want to expand their area of control, unfortunately for Khairuddin at PAS’ expense. It’s only a matter of time and while at it, both parties wring the political life out of the faith-based party.

But PAS being PAS thinks all the present disturbances are just growing pains, not evidence this is not tenable.

Not stopped to think, if race unity is more important than everything else, why both Umno and Bersatu won’t propose to unify the parties?

They cannot and their members cannot. They are separate and they need to be separate  because the future is not a single Malay party. That was always impossible.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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