The ‘political marriage’ – if we may borrow the romantic parlance to refer to the political actors concerned – between Pas and Umno that was solemnised in 2019 under the banner of Muafakat Nasional appears to be nearing its anti-climax.
Pas, many of whose members are presumably amenable to the idea of men having more than one wife, recently sensed that its marriage was on the rocks when Umno declined to invite the Islamist party to its 2021 annual general assembly.
Invitations are normally extended to political parties of similar wavelength and considered friendly.
Despite being scorned, Pas secretary general Takiyuddin Hassan took comfort in the fact that “Pas and Umno are still in the federal government”. In short, both parties are at least still locked in an embrace, no matter how lukewarm it could be, in Putrajaya.
However, any doubts about the acrimonious Pas-Umno relationship were swiftly squashed by no less than the chief of Puteri Umno at its annual general meeting, who after suddenly acquiring testicular gumption, bid “sayonara” to Pas.
This is because the young women’s wing was miffed that Pas has had a liaison with archrival Bersatu – even after both Umno and Pas had exchanged vows in a collective attempt to woo the Malay-Muslim constituencies in the wake of the electoral triumph of Pakatan Harapan in the 2018 general election.
Pas unilaterally tied the knot, so to speak, with Bersatu to form the Perikatan Nasional pact in 2020 – and to Umno’s dismay, it has refused to dump Bersatu and PN.
Like a true-blue polygamous entity, Pas has strived its darndest to maintain a cosy relationship with both parties, pining for the best of both worlds.
In the heat of the moment when the Umno-Pas relationship reached its lowest ebb, Pas president Hadi Awang even had the chutzpah to characterise his political partner in a way that suggested no love was lost: “a duck with a broken leg”. Not a nice way to treat a partner, particularly one who has regained much strength.
That is why cynics deemed such partnerships as “marriages of convenience”, in which Pas is perceived to be hedging its bets. They are wedlocks not born in heaven.
It is, thus, understandable why Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan took an indirect dig at Pas, saying Umno would not “be in love” with those having “wandering eyes” and “cheated” on the party. These are strong words normally expressed by a jilted lover.
Their close relationship took a turn for the worse when Pas decided to use the PN logo instead of its own during the Malacca selection election campaign.
In an act considered as defiling its otherwise solemn vows with Umno, Pas again used the PN logo in the recent Johor election and clashed fiercely with Umno-Barisan Nasional at the hustings, further straining their fragile relationship.
There are, however, those in Pas still clamouring for a reconciliation with the resurgent Umno, perhaps keeping in mind that the sitting federal government may be disbanded soon to make way for a general election. Parting, it seems, is so hard to do.
Like in many soap operas, it is hoped that the Pas predicament does not end with a cliffhanger.
That said, does it really matter to ordinary Malaysians, particularly the poor and the marginalised? – The Malaysian Insight