Pas-Umno talks a bargaining ploy to strengthen Pas’ hand in Pakatan?
Going by the reports in the mainstream media, you would think that Umno and Pas are on the verge of merging. Mustafa Anuar has a round-up of the coverage.
The latest is a Star report:
PAS proposes hudud laws if it merges with Umno
KOTA BARU: PAS will propose the implementation of hudud and qisas laws, among other things, if the proposed PAS-Umno merger becomes a reality.
PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said the proposal was in line with Islamic principles and could be implemented if both parties, which were now having ongoing discussions on Malay and Muslim issues, agreed to it towards forming a new political entity.
But hang on a minute. Here’s the main story in Harakah Daily:
Cabaran perkongsian kuasa dalam pembentukan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat
Mohd Rashidi Hassan
Wed | Jul 30, 08 | 12:54:03 pm MYT
PAS tetap komited dengan Pakatan Rakyat. Itulah jaminan pemimpin-pemimpin PAS dan kehendak ahli serta penyokong PAS keseluruhannya.
Harus diingatkan, bahawa pemimpin, ahli dan penyokong PAS memberikan kerjasama yang tidak berbelah bahagi sejak penubuhan Barisan Alternatif (BA) yang menggabungkan PAS, KeADILan, PRM dan DAP semasa al-Marhum Dato’ Fadzil Mohd Noor menjadi Presiden PAS lagi.
In other words, Pas leaders have guaranteed their commitment to Pakatan in accordance with the will of Pas members. They will not join the BN. But from the same Harakah report it appears they are unhappy over a string of issues, especially in relation to power-sharing in Selangor.
The Harakah report said Chinese-based parties occasionally touched on the sovereignty of the Malay rulers, the sanctity of Islam and the interests of the Malays. So when Pas and Umno touch on the Islamic and Malay agenda, the other races should not look at it negatively. All quarters should not stress the interests of their own races or their own political objectives without considering the interests of the majority especially the Malay-Muslims, the report urged.
The Harakah report also referred to Pakatan’s concept of equal (power) sharing. This it said should not be reduced to a mathematical formula for dividing seats.
It expressed dissatisfaction in a couple of cases: allocation of seats in the Shah Alam and Subang Jaya town councils, which it said appears to favour the non-Malays/Muslims:
Di Selangor misalnya dalam penyusunan ahli majlis sama ada Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam atau Majlis Perbandaran atau Majlis Daerah, walaupun Exco yang terbabit, Ronnie Liu mewakili DAP, beliau tidak seharusnya dilihat membahagi-bahagikan jawatan dengan melebihkan kaum Cina.
Misalnya di Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya yang merangkumi kawasan Puchong, Serdang dan Kelana Jaya, daripada 24 orang ahli majlis, hanya 8 orang sahaja yang beragama Islam sedangkan majoriti penduduk orang-orang Melayu yang beragama Islam.
Begitu juga di Shah Alam yang merangkumi Parlimen Shah Alam dan Kota Raja. Perlantikan Ahli Majlis harus mewakili peratusan penduduk, bukan dibahagi tiga antara tiga parti atau dilantik daripada NGO yang bukan Melayu/ Islam.
It also hinted of dissatisfaction over PKR’s appointments of their people to positions in Selangor government-owned subsidiary companies, which it said bore some similarity with Umno’s appointments in the past.
The Harakah report also voiced concern over the extensions and renovations to non-Muslim places of worship. These it said should not be blocked – but they should be in line with the population breakdown of the various areas. Why weren’t such requests made during the tenure of the BN government, it asked.
Finally, it said if Selangor really wanted to be a model of power-sharing that is just, Anwar should pay special attention to the situation in the state.
So it’s all about who gets how many seats…
It strikes me that the talks between Umno and Pas look more like a bargaining chip for Pas to strengthen its position in relation to the other Pakatan parties. Of course Pas itself would ascribe more “altruistic” motives to its involvement in the talks i.e. it wants to protect the “interests” of the Malays and Muslims.
Ultimately Pas’ unhappiness seems largely over the appointments to various positions in Selangor GLCs and the division of seats in the Exco and town councils. And it appears to be resorting to communal and religious sentiment to whip up support for its stance.
It appears that Pas is not satisfied despite leading three of the five Pakatan-ruled states. It also has the most state assembly seats of the three Pakatan parties if you add up all the seats of the respective parties in the five state assemblies.
Is this quest for purportedly fair “power sharing” sufficient reason to rock relations among the Pakatan parties – especially at a time when the Pakatan is facing a concerted BN/mainstream media onslaught?