PETALING JAYA: Although it started out by cooperating with Umno in the Muakafat Nasional, PAS seems to prefer working in the Perikatan Nasional with PPBM, says an analyst.
There are three reasons for this, says Bridget Welsh of the University of Nottingham Malaysia.
The first is that PPBM has given PAS the largest political representation it has ever had at federal level.
Second, PAS believes it has a stronger electoral pull than Umno, adding that the Islamist party probably thinks its collaboration in Muafakat Nasional helped Umno more than itself.
“The third reason is that PPBM has allowed PAS to engage in its agenda in terms of promoting Islamist politics. We see issues involving the sale of alcohol and temples. These are things where they have been able to push their agenda,” she told FMT.
Welsh added that these reasons probably explained PAS’ decision not to be part of the new Perak government which is likely to be helmed by Umno, following the ousting of Menteri Besar Faizal Azumu.
Welsh said it was too early to determine if the tensions between PAS and Umno would escalate to the federal and national level due to the unpredictable nature of Malaysian politics, adding that only time will tell.
“The situation is constantly changing, it’s very fluid. One day you are the enemy and the next you are a friend, then you’re the enemy again. We’re seeing Malay politics that are usually behind the scenes now out in the open,” she said.
She predicted there would be a spillover at the state level. “There are five vulnerable states. One has to look at what’s happening in Kedah and also the issues in Johor. These are important states to be watching.”
She added that it was not yet clear who was the biggest winner in the change of government in Perak, although new relationships might develop there.
James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute said that all PAS wanted was to remain a part of the government, which is why they are still part of the Perikatan Nasional federal government for now.
He also told FMT that PAS was not friendly with either PPBM or Umno, but just wanted to remain in a place of power in order to push for more Islamisation.
“PAS has no loyalty. It will dump PPBM on one condition — that it can remain in the government.
“PAS wants a government that is fully Malay or Islam-centric. That’s why they were more than happy to pull the old Pakatan Harapan government down, because they thought that government had too much non-Malay and non-Muslim influence,” he said.
Faizal lost the confidence of the Perak state assembly after 48 members voted against him in a motion of confidence. There were 10 votes in support of Faizal and one spoilt vote.
PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said the party will not be part of the new state government, adding that all three of its assemblymen had supported Faizal during the motion.
BY : Nicholas Chung – FMT