Pas needs an overhaul; Hadi needs to be replaced; and the hegemony of the ulamas needs to be stopped, asserts Faisal S Hazis.
The ‘Kajang Move’ was a big flop. PKR failed to push its choice of Menteri Besar to lead the richest state in the country so as to propel Pakatan to Putrajaya in the next general election.
Although Pakatan Minus (with the exception of Pas) stood firm on their choice of candidate to the very last hours, the palace defied democratic convention by appointing someone else, Azmin Ali. Despite its resentment against the palace’s decision, the PKR and later the DAP endorsed Azmin’s appointment, thus sacrificing its principles and surrendering its power to choose the Menteri Besar. This spells trouble for the PKR’s already tainted and battered image.
The ‘Palace Move’ is not only going against democratic convention but it also calls into question the role of the constitutional monarch in our increasingly shrinking democracy. This should be a matter of concern not only to the opposition but also the BN since the ruling party’s prerogative in naming the prime minister and chief minister, as noted by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, would also be compromised. This spells trouble for democracy.
The Selangor crisis not only deepened factional fights in the PKR and Pas but it also amplified inter-party schism within Pakatan. Worse, the crisis exposed Pas’ true colors (i.e. its long obsession with the Islamic state agenda, its non-democratic culture via ulama control and a feudal state of mind) and its lack of commitment in upholding the spirit of Pakatan. Whatever happened to the notion of Negara Kebajikan Islam ,which was being touted by Pas in the last four general elections? This spells trouble for Pakatan.
So, what’s next for Pakatan? Is this the beginning of the end for the young coalition? Can Pakatan consolidate and regain the people’s trust in being a viable alternative to BN?
The future certainly looks gloomy for Pakatan Rakyat. Under the leadership of out of favour PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, the PKR, together with DAP and Pas, has a daunting task of putting Selangor back on the ‘right’ track.
The newly installed government needs to address all the issues associated with the Khalid leadership and fulfil Pakatan’s promises to the people of Selangor. If it can do this, Pakatan has a fighting chance in the next general election. However, inter- and intra-party factional fights are expected to continue plaguing Pakatan, thus distracting it from its goal of ‘fixing’ Selangor.
An even bigger challenge for Pakatan is to consolidate the coalition. The Selangor crisis shows that Pas is a liability to Pakatan. Its commitment to the coalition is in serious question. Its renewed call for the introduction of hudud and Islamic state is a betrayal of its electoral promise to moderate Malays and non-Muslims.
Hadi Awang’s actions in the Selangor crisis expose his lack of respect towards new politics and the spirit of the opposition coalition. Pas needs an overhaul. Hadi needs to be replaced. The hegemony of the ulamas needs to be stopped. The struggle for a welfare state, democracy and inclusivism should precede other agendas. If not, Pakatan has to cut its ties with Pas. Failing which, Pakatan would not even stand a chance to put up a credible challenge in the next general election.
Pakatan, however, has some breathing space because BN is equally hopeless. It fails to understand the impulse of the majority of voters in 2013 who wanted an inclusive, democratic and transparent Malaysia. But to form a government, Pakatan cannot rely on BN’s weaknesses only. Without a united coalition with a strong commitment towards change, Pakatan would only be a noisy opposition. Nothing more, nothing less.
Faisal S Hazis
Co-editor, Aliran e-Newsletter
27 September 2014