There were reports that Azmin had to let go the Pas executive council members — Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad, Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi and Zaidy Abdul Talib — due to pressure from his colleagues in Pakatan Harapan. Nevertheless, a little bird said moments after Nik Zawawi’s announcement, Azmin had an audience with the Sultan of Selangor and conveyed that the status quo — with regard to the Pas executive council members — would remain.
Syed Umar Ariff, NST
THERE is supposedly a chat group involving a few architects working to isolate Pas from the mainstream opposition bloc.
Among the notable names claimed to be included in the group are PKR’s vice-president Rafizi Ramli, DAP’s publicity secretary Tony Pua and Parti Amanah Negara’s (PAN) communications supremo Khalid Samad.
“Skinnies are only relayed in the group, with a few exchanges of banter and latest news that could tie in with the objective,” a source from PKR said.
Their machinations are said to be so good that through a few exertions, the outcome of a mission will be handed in by Pas; previous reports on the crumbling affairs seem to allude to this.
Some quarters are saying that the final break-up between Pas and PKR is the crowning glory of this group.
True enough, the dissolution of the pact was announced by Pas.
Rafizi and Khalid were said to be smiling with a twinkle in their respective eyes after reading Pas Syura Council secretary Datuk Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Nik Salleh’s statement, which was released on Thursday in Jalan Raja Laut.
Pua, on the other hand, could not contain his excitement.
“Hahahahahaaahahahhaaaaahhhaahaa… aaaaa ahh hh (Takes deep breath). If no political relationship, then why are you in a coalition government? Sit in opposition with Umno la. LOL,” Pua said in a Facebook jibe against Selangor Pas commissioner Sallehen Mukhyi.
CLOAK, DAGGER AND LOSER
The gossip about the so-called clandestine group had been snaking its way through the politicos’ grapevine since 2015, with elements of conspiracy that saw the separation of Pas and DAP.
Each of the member’s name mentioned are said to have individual vested interest in ousting Pas — Rafizi gets to tick off PKR No.2 Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Pua’s plan to remove Pas for not kowtowing to DAP, and Khalid’s desire turn PAN as the Malay bloc in Pakatan Harapan.
If there is any truth to the purported machinations, such is a categorical norm in the cloak and dagger aspect of politics.
But with all intents and purposes, or whatever the objective reality is, who is now the biggest loser in this latest ruckus?
CROWN JEWEL AT STAKE
All eyes are turning to PKR in Selangor, where the blow is expected to hit the hardest, noted Professsor Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak.
“Obviously, PKR would be the biggest loser in this scenario,” the Universiti Utara Malaysia vice-chancellor said.
“There will be no more support for Pas on which PKR could be riding on. It is in danger of losing some Malay marginal seats in Selangor.”
PAN and Pakatan Harapan’s latest member, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM), may only posses nominal weight in garnering votes from rural Malays.
“It is still not clear how many Malay votes PBBM and PAN can deliver for their pact.
“But, it may not be able to compensate what is being lost from Pas.”
Mustafa’s view is not far off based on stats and figures.
Research firm Politweet is a non-partisan research firm analysing interactions among Malaysians through social media.
It said during the 13th General Election (GE13) in Selangor, Pas’s seats, on average, gained the highest support across all age groups at 54 per cent and below, with those aged between 38 and 45 topping the list.
And in an overall picture nationwide, Politweet said PKR and DAP may not perform better in rural areas without Pas’s involvement.
But, it must be noted that the research was made before the possible implementation of a redelineation exercise and formation of PPBM, whose mettle at the polls is yet to be tested.
“PKR and DAP have not had as much success winning rural seats as compared with Pas and Barisan Nasional.
“Without Pas continuing to represent (now-defunct) Pakatan Rakyat in those seats, a new coalition will have difficulties winning the 14th General Election.
“The possibility of three-cornered fights between Pas, BN and Gerakan Harapan Baru (now PAN) increases the likelihood of BN winning seats with less than 50 per cent of the vote. This could happen even in Kelantan and Terengganu, if enough Pas leaders and members leave to join the new party.”
HOLDING IT TOGETHER
There were reports that Azmin had to let go the Pas executive council members — Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad, Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi and Zaidy Abdul Talib — due to pressure from his colleagues in Pakatan Harapan.
Nevertheless, a little bird said moments after Nik Zawawi’s announcement, Azmin had an audience with the Sultan of Selangor and conveyed that the status quo — with regard to the Pas executive council members — would remain.
The sultan had agreed that at least until the general election, Pas would continue to be part of the administration.
Hence, Pua’s lack of know-how on the intricacies of government-palace relationship could have led him to overstep his boundaries concerning the ruler’s power in appointing state administrators.
“Azmin is a realist. He is working hard to maintain the cordial relationship between the palace and government in Selangor.
“The preservation of the status quo has been consented to by the sultan to maintain the government’s stability.
“Due to political interests, some tend to ignore the role of a menteri besar. Politicians like Pua, for example, like to come out with statements that may not conform to the palace’s wish for stability,” an aide to Azmin said.
Furthermore, losing grip over Malay constituents could spell doom for PKR’s leadership in the state, political analyst Professor Dr Azizuddin Mohd Sani said.
In 2010, the number of Bumiputera residents in Selangor stood at 51.5 per cent, and Muslims at 57.9 per cent — both numbers have grown since.
“Selangor has many Malay seats (at least 25 state seats).
“The underlying issue is the impact of Pas’s departure on parties dependent on Malay support. Yes, in this instance, PKR is walking a tightrope.”
PKR is bearing the brunt of Pas’s ouster, which is the objective of a few who harbour a vendetta against certain individuals and the Islamic party.
DAP has decided to leave the matter and aftermath to be solely dealt by PKR, and washed its hands clean off efforts to remove Pas from the equation.
After more than a decade of friendly ties, Pas and PKR have arrived in Splitsville, reflecting the fluid but tumultuous inter-party relationship in the opposition fold.
This could lead to the opposition pact losing its two-thirds majority in Selangor, even if parties in Pakatan Harapan remain incumbent at the next polls.
As of now, any overture against Pas is bearing fruit and PKR’s leadership in Selangor has never been on a shakier ground. Azmin can only do so much to hold it together.