MARCH 2 — No one dreamt that Pas would be easily enticed to cooperate with Umno. But Umno has its hidden agenda to break up Pakatan Rakyat in order to weaken the opposition.
It has promised to support Pas when the hudud bill is tabled on 18 March in the Kelantan state assembly. This is being taken as support for hudud — which is utterly fallacious.
What choice has Umno in this issue? Can it vote against the Pas hudud bill? It cannot! It has to prove to the Malays that it is for hudud. It would be suicidal for Umno not to vote with Pas. There are no two ways about it for Umno.
It is merely hoodwinking Pas into thinking that it is helping the Islamist party to implement hudud in Kelantan.
Umno’s strategy is meant not only to weaken Pakatan Rakyat by successfully creating dissension within the coalition, it has an ulterior motive as well. It is also to drive away non-Malay support for Pas, which was given freely on the basis of Pakatan’s agreed common platform.
But if Pas falls for the Umno trap and goes ahead with its hudud bill, those who voted for Pas in previous elections will definitely not vote for Pas come GE14. The non-Malays who supported Pas candidates now feel betrayed by Pas’ about-turn. It won’t be easy for Pas to regain their trust.
In the last election, Pas won 21 parliamentary seats. It won’t be able to retain this number in GE14. Pas’ loss will be Umno’s gain. This is the strategy that is carefully being pursued. After this, Pas can forget about spreading its wings nation-wide and increasing its support and influence.
Pas should call upon Umno to prove its sincerity by openly challenging it to table a similar bill in Terengganu. Like Umno, Pas can promise to support Umno’s hudud bill in Terengganu. After all, like Kelantan, Terengganu had also passed the syariah enactment bill, paving the way for the implementation of hudud in Terengganu.
You can rest assured that Umno will not do this. It has more sense and realises that such a move will cost Umno the support of all thinking and caring Malaysians. It will mean vacating Putrajaya and paving the way for a change of government. It will not take the risk even for hudud!
Pas should not be lulled into believing that Umno has chosen not to contest in the Chempaka by-election to promote Malay unity. The truth is that Umno would be wiped out if it chose to contest the Chempaka seat vacated by the sad demise of the much revered Pas spiritual leader, Tok Guru. It would be a humiliating defeat that would shame Umno.
Umno must explain in plain language why it did not implement the syariah laws when it was in a position to do so with its two thirds majority in parliament. In states like Pahang, Terengganu, Kedah, Johor, Malacca, Perak, Penang, Perlis, Selangor and Negri Sembilan it could have quite easily implemented syariah laws. But it did not. There was not even a feeble attempt to do so. Why? Is it because it does not believe that syariah laws are suitable for Malaysia?
The person responsible for the present turmoil in this country is none other than Dr Tun Mahthir Mohamad. He was the one who goaded, challenged and provoked Pas to implement hudud even promising to amend the Federal Constitution to enable the implementation of hudud.
Pas, to their credit, took up the challenge and passed the syariah enactment in Kelantan. But Mahathir did not keep his word to amend the Federal Constitution to enable Pas to go ahead with hudud. He chickened out.
It is very clear that Umno has no intention to implement hudud in Malaysia. Of course, they will deny this and yell their heads off that they are for it.
If that is the case, Umno should prove its sincerity and table a similar bill in Terengganu. That is the only way to convince the Malays there was no double talk when Umno proclaimed its support for Pas!
* P Ramakrishan, the long-serving former president of Aliran, has been granted a respite and now happily serves as an Aliran executive committee member.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.