PAS’ political play

Look! PAS not contesting the Sabah election is no big deal. Or to put in another way, it should not be one. For PAS itself that is.

True, it has been reported that the party now has some 60 branches in Sabah, and political observers feel that PAS should at the very least contest the Merotai constituency, which it did in the 2018 general elections, if not for anything else, then it’s because 80% of the voters there are bumiputra-Muslims.

Another seat, observers say, PAS can contest is Tanjung Keramat. Again because of the number of bumiputra-Muslim voters in the constituency. Incidentally, Warisan has allocated Tanjung Keramat for its ally Amanah to vie for. It would be a battle to watch if PAS were to face off with its arch enemy Amanah for Tanjung Keramat.

Amanah, as we know, is a splinter from PAS.

PAS did not contest in Sabah for cooperation sake with Muafakat, Perikatan – PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang

Despite the above factors, observers say PAS’ presence in Sabah is not strongly felt. And even the party’s allies in Perikatan Nasional or Gabungan Rakyat Sabah feel “public sentiment in the state makes PAS unacceptable in Sabah”.

And PAS is not pleased with such remarks, prompting its deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man to voice out his disappointment at allies who said his party’s agenda is not suitable in Sabah, and for that matter, Sarawak as well.

But according to analysts, PAS could itself be wary of coming under fire in Sabah over its stand on religious issues and the recent inflammatory remarks about Christians by its MP. No prizes for getting it right as to who the MP is and what he said, in particular concerning the Bible.

Wary or not, Tuan Ibrahim said what he said anyway. Please note that when Tuan Ibrahim hit out at allies who viewed PAS’ agenda as not suitable in Borneo, he said it in his closing speech at the recent PAS Muktamar or general assembly in Kelantan.

Whether he was playing to the gallery or trying to pacify party members angry that PAS had been left out of the Sabah polls, your guess is as good as mine!

However, here’s the thing is. With its political allies not wanting the party to contest the Sabah election, PAS ought to just ‘move on’. And at one point it appeared that this was exactly what they wanted to do.

For instance, PAS leaders, including president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Tuan Ibrahim, had told all and sundry that not contesting in Sabah “is political strategy”.

PAS didn’t contest in Sabah to avoid ‘enemy traps’ – PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man

Hadi went on to claim that his party had actually chosen to make way for “the greater good”, i.e. to avoid the so-called “friendly fire” when allies contest against each other.

Well and good. Noble even. But Sabah PAS chief Mohd Aminuddin Aling was reported to have “revealed” that his party “was not invited to contest (any constituency)”.

And bear in mind that PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said earlier his party wanted to contest ten seats, this coming from a high-ranking party official!

After it was made known that PAS will not be contesting the state election entirely, Tuan Ibrahim said his party would campaign for its allies, which can be taken to mean that PAS is willing to move on and not hold any grudges.

PAS has asked to contest in about 10 seats in the upcoming Sabah state election, said party secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.

However, at the same time several PAS leaders voiced out their displeasure. National treasurer Iskandar Abdul Samad took a jibe at allies by using the analogy of the walking stick.

Taking to Twitter, Iskandar said, “When you’re sick, you look for the walking stick, but when you are well, the walking stick is thrown away.” That is as clear as it gets to illustrate his point.

And he went on to say, “But this is no ordinary walking stick. This is like the walking stick of Prophet Musa. When thrown, it can turn into a snake which can bite. Be careful!”

Apparently not satisfied with the barb, Iskandar also twitted, “A true friend will not eat alone. What kind of friends who ravish even the bones?” Angry words indeed aimed at an obvious target.

Entered other leaders who downplay the no-contest issue and warned members not to allow themselves to be used by the opposition to create disunity.

Among them was central committee member Nik Abduh Nik Aziz who echoed Tuan Ibrahim in saying PAS would campaign in Sabah and help Umno win.

Perhaps because they are politicians who portray themselves as religious and pious, they must appear to be composed, forgiving and compassionate. But, is there bitterness?

Anyway, Nik Abduh admitted he was disappointed by the decision (by the powers that be) in not allowing PAS to contest in Sabah.

There are many more statements and remarks by PAS leaders which can be seen as contradictory. I don’t intend to repeat each and every one of them here lest creating confusion.

I’ll bring in veteran journalist Datuk Kadir Jasin for his take on PAS as a political party (not merely the Sabah election issue).

In his Facebook post, Kadir said PAS keeps changing its stand to suit prevailing political situation.

In a nutshell, Kadir detailed how the Islamist party can mutate from loving DAP to hating it, and from labeling Umno infidels or “kafir” for working with non-Muslims to embracing it.

PAS, as we know, is part of Perikatan Nasional as well as Muafakat Nasional.

Well, back to the not contesting Sabah election issue. Veteran media activist Ahmad Lutfi Othman also took to Facebook to tell Sabah PAS, albeit sarcastically, “not to worry as big rewards are awaiting”.

He was referring to a promise made by BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that many political appointments are reserved for Umno and PAS leaders should BN and allies win the September 26 polls.

Enough said.

By : Mohsin Abdullah – SIN CHEW DAILY

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