Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The PAS-UMNO Marriage
That PAS has long desired to bed UMNO is no secret.
It is no more a surreptitious act. The dates between the two are no more arranged in dark secret places. If they are a couple in Kelantan or Terengganu, they might have even been arrested for riding a motorbike together.
And the Prime Minister’s recent public statement that a UMNO-PAS “co-operation” is not impossible lends credence that PAS’ wet dream is shared by UMNO as well. It is of note that even UMNO is very happy and satisfied with the result of the recently concluded PAS general assembly – or in PAS parlance, the “Muktamar” - where all the moderates in PAS were defeated.
The signs have been there for the past two years. Even three. And when the Dewan Ulamaks in PAS managed to bulldoze a resolution to cut ties with DAP without even a debate or a vote from the floor during the recent Muktamar, the deal is sealed; the bed is bought, black PVC cat suits as well as whips and chains are all ordered. A sado-masochist merger will soon set Malaysia’s political grotesque stage ablaze.
The question is – will this be good or bad for Malaysia?
First of all, what will happen to Pakatan Rakyat now that one of its constituent has decided to cut ties with another one of its constituent? The after-effect of the Muktamar was immediately felt. Lim Guan Eng less than cryptically told the PAS excos in his government to resign.
His father Lim Kit Siang said the Pakatan is dead. Is Pakatan really dead? As much as Pakatan looks to be dead, it is doubtful that it is actually dead. Kit Siang’s statement is his normal mind-games, the type of which being frequently employed by wily foxes that are old-hands at the games they play, such as Tun DrM or Alex Ferguson.
If Pakatan could emerge amidst three very different parties with different ideals and background, fuelled by one common goal against a common opponent, what is there to prevent Pakatan from continuing even though PAS has opted to marry its long-time macho boyfriend and live as a jewellery-bedecked trophy wife of the moment?
To dismiss Pakatan Rakyat as a dead force would be to deny the collective goal that Malaysia’s political opposition has. Granted, Anwar Ibrahim is in jail. PAS is gone. So what? What has changed? Barisan Nasional is still in power. The political nemesis is still around. And that political nemesis is showing signs of breaking up themselves.
It must be remembered that Pakatan Rakyat is a creature that is more than used to handling crisis after crisis. It has so far survived all that have been thrown at it by the government, despite its meagre resources, especially finance wise. Pakatan Rakyat may be weakened by PAS’ unilateral decision, but Pakatan is a battle-hardened outfit that proves times and again its ability to emerge stronger and more united after every crisis.
By comparison, the current internal strives within the driving power of Barisan, namely UMNO, far outstrips the ripple of discontent caused by PAS within Pakatan. What is happening within Pakatan, in the form of PAS’ adulterous deception of its partners, has been going on for a long time. In fact Kit Siang himself predicted what would happen during the recent PAS Muktamar. What PAS did came as no surprise at all.
MCA and MIC are a dying force. MCA is aimlessly struggling for political leadership and support. The Chinese – the race that it once claimed to represent – has by far abandoned tgeir hopes with MCA. MIC is dead and buried. It has become as irrelevant as Samy Vellu, its erstwhile Chief.
Externally, Sarawak has become more and more vociferous of its rights and entitlement. It may declare its undivided loyalty to the Barisan but everybody knows that Sarawak is a State that is feared by Barisan Nasional nowadays. Adenan Satim has proven to be a leader with a mind of his own – a rare commodity among Barisan leaders nowadays. Sabah on the other hand continues to be the Barisan’s safety deposit. However it is a State with no less than three warlords eyeing for power. It is not all happy moments for Sabah internally.
Contrast that to the internal struggles within UMNO and Barisan Nasional now and by comparison Pakatan Rakyat is as serene as a morning in early spring.
The time has come for Malaysia and Malaysians to face the prospect of two ultra-conservatives-right-wingers merging or working together. On one hand we have UMNO, a party founded on quasi-libertarian principles but has in recent time found it necessary to retrogress into a cocoon of nationalistic and parochial idealism in order to maintain its patrimonial grip on Malaysia’s political landscape. On the other hand, we have PAS, a party which seemingly had opened its arm to non-Muslims with its “welfare State” posturing thereby adopting a “moderate Islamist outlook” – if that is even possible in reality – but had in recent time proven that all those posturing are just political deception born out of political necessity to gain power.
So now we have an ultra-right-wing Malay based party working together with ultra-conservative-Islamist Malay based party.
The Malaysian political divides has never been so clearly defined between ideologies until now. Until PAS and UMNO working together that is. The stark contrast between conservative Malaysians and educated and more liberal Malaysians has never been so clearly defined.
In GE 12 and 13 we saw the dividing line taking shapes along the rural and urban boundaries. PAS and UMNO marriage would further cement this divide with an added flavour, namely, between Islamisation and nationalistic patrimonialism against moderates and liberal Malaysians espousing Constitutionalism and fairer governance.
This divide was rearing its head in GE12 and 13. But with UMNO-PAS marriage, it would finally be well defined. The choice is now clear. Do you want an ultra-conservative-Islamist Malaysia? Or do you want a moderate and liberal Malaysia tied to the Constitution and good governance?
Of course this ideological fight would shed none of its economic class, social demography and race and religion elements. However, finally we can say that two large and general divisions have emerged in Malaysian political landscape. And these two divisions will largely decide the outcome of future general elections.
More pertinently and immediate though, is what will become of the Barisan Nasional as and when PAS joins in the party (pardon the pun). MCA has always shown allergic reactions to PAS’ hudud wet dream. Will it leave the Barisan? If so, will it join the Pakatan? If it did not leave the Barisan, what would it do? What about the Christian-based party from Sabah and Sarawak within the Barisan?
The possibilities, as is always the case in Malaysia, is endless.
But the prospect of a fight between two well-defined opposite ideologies representing the conservative-Islamists and moderate-liberals is probably the best thing that could happen to Malaysian politics.