The unity talk between PAS and UMNO will be kept in abeyance for now.It is not over yet.It will come back.UMNO still have a comfortable four years to try break up the makeshift coalition.
Among the three, PAS is the most uncomfortable partner and had sudden realization that if Pakatan should win the next general election, PAS would be a junior partner and the diminution of Malay political power.The splitting of the Malay votes between PAS and UMNO would assure that.
UMNO with greater Malay support would be out in the cold and PAS playing second or third fiddle in the coalition. A grim picture that Hadi and Nasharuddin visualised hence the proposal for a unity government.
The most severe test will come, if they do last that long, in the distribution of seats among the three for the next general elections.Anwar Ibrahim will insist on majority of seats to be given to PKR to make it the most senior partner and assure him the prime minister position.PAS would want the same majority of seats that would fulfill their dream of a path to eventually making the nation more Islamic in outlook.DAP would become the biggest winner taking almost all non-Malay seats in Peninsula Malaysia wiping out MCA and Gerakan.
There is no Bangsa Malaysia, a Pakatan sale gimmick.The people would still vote on racial line and a new government that will be an exact replica of the current one but led by a non-Malay dominant party.
The air of distrust among members of the coalition will re-surface and fulfill UMNO's dream.
Cracks in Malaysia's Opposition Coalition
Despite continuing to win by-elections, organizational difficulties abound.
|Written by Our Correspondent|
|Monday, 22 June 2009|
The forces that have held Malaysia's unwieldy Pakatan Rakyat coalition together for the last 15 months appear to be fraying, with the opposition coalition foundering on the ethnic and philosophical differences between the constituent parties.
The coalition is made up of the urban largely ethnic Malay Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the rural fundamentalist Islamic Parti Islam se-Malaysia and the mostly Chinese Democratic Action Party. About all that has held the three together was a desire to oust the ruling Barisan Nasional from its 50-year hold on power.
"There are inherent differences not only within the coalition itself but most of all within Parti Keadilan," says one source. "Keadilan itself is made up of three disparate groups — ex-UMNO types, ex-Abim (Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement, from which Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim sprang before he joined the United Malays National Organisation in the 1980s) and various non-government organizations.
"This underscores a major failing," the source says. "Anwar is a great orator, a guy capable of inspiring people, but a poor organizer. He hasn't been doing a good job in holding together Keadilan, let alone Pakatan Rakyat. Not surprisingly, because Anwar isn't working on minimizing the inherent differences, there is a palpable sense of drift in both Keadilan and Pakatan Rakyat."
Given these problems new Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has moved aggressively to try to woo back enough opposition members to reclaim some of the five states lost to the Pakatan Rakyat in the March 2008 national elections. The same election cost the ruling coalition its two-thirds majority in the parliament.
There have been continuing indications that the coalition was troubled. But the biggest one appeared two weeks ago when Hadi Awang and Nasharuddin Mat Isa, the president and deputy president of PAS, respectively, after the party's annual general meeting openly mused about a unity coalition with UMNO. Then, last week, PAS's spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, agreed in principle with the idea of unity talks, as long as they centered on Islamic issues. Ultimately, after a meeting on Monday, the Pakatan coalition agreed to stay together and for PAS to reject any contacts with UMNO. PAS leaders called UMNO un-Islamic. But that doesn't mean the strains won't continue.
Ever since the 2008 elections, the country's politics have been fracturing. The once almost monolithic Malay vote, which UMNO could count on without any concerns, has eroded badly, with UMNO now taking hardly more than half, as ethnic Malays, disillusioned with corruption, have fled to the urban PKR as well as in large numbers to PAS despite its fundamentalist Islamic roots and traditionally rural northeastern base.
That has created tensions within PAS itself, as the so-called Terengganu faction of rural fundamentalists have seen their power eroded by the more moderate urban Malay rank and file. It appears to be those tensions that have driven Hadi and Nashruddin into thinking of a coalition with UMNO to preserve Malay power.
For Pakatan, the defection of PAS could be an enormous problem, although leaders are trying to put a good spin on a bad situation.
"I think a split is possible though it would be quite a dramatic solution," says a top Pakatan source. "Personally I think this isn't a bad idea because I think those who split will be deeply punished in an election. I think if there was a constituency that was being contested by PAS linked to UMNO vs. Pakatan, the people would vote for Pakatan. I think if there was a constituency within PAS aligned to Pakatan versus UMNO and the Barisan, people would stick with the Pakatan faction. A small group of Pakatan and PAS leaders discussed this last week, and we felt that in the current climate, if PAS did do a deal with UMNO they would not come out of that unscathed."
The fissures, thoguh, are real. Ethnic Malays in opposition find themselves growing irritated with the Democratic Action Party, which has been moving aggressively to assert Chinese prerogatives. In addition, Anwar has from the start called for the abolition of Malay privilege under the New Economic Policy, an affirmative action program guaranteeing ethnic Malays a wide range of educational and other benefits.
There is also an element in PAS, a source says, which is extremely concerned about the issue of Malay rights. Others, particularly the Terengganu faction, believe they could be bigger players in a PAS-UMNO government than in one led by Anwar, especially given Anwar's advocacy of greater rights for non-Muslims and more personal, political and religious freedom.Read more....