Anuar, Hadi or Karpal – Who is the next PM, should PKR win the elections?
PAS has refused to associate itself with DAP’s renewed support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Pakatan Rakyat’s choice for the Prime Minister’s post should the Opposition coalition win the next general election.
In politics, reading between the lines is crucial.
So when PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali declined to state his party’s stand, and only said that the matter should be decided after nominations close for national polls, it was clear that PAS and DAP still do not agree on the coalition’s choice for PM.
During PAS’ annual muktamar last month, PAS delegates had surprised their ‘allies’ by calling for party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to take on the PM’s role instead of Anwar. That came as a shock to Anwar who thought he was the Opposition’s unanimous choice for PM.
The incident clearly showed that senior leaders in Pakatan are nursing their own private ambitions of becoming PM. Barely months before GE 13, the coalition is still unable to decide on who will lead any potential Pakatan government.
“We do have our views on this but we will not disclose our stand on this for now,” Mustafa told a press conference on Saturday after the opening of DAP’s national congress.
He added that DAP was entitled to express its own views on the topic but would neither agree nor disagree with his ‘ally’.
“I feel the appropriate time to announce our views on who should be the next Prime Minister is after nomination of the candidates for the general elections,” Mustafa said, in a blatant attempt to sweep the issue under the rug.
In his opening speech at the congress, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh had said the party would give its full cooperation to Anwar to become PM.
That obviously was not agreeable to Mustafa, who later claimed that any potential prime minister would have to first be nominated as a candidate and get the people’s mandate by winning the election.
Ouch. So much for Anwar’s aura of invincibility. So much for Pakatan unity.
On the DAP-PAS relationship, Mustafa admitted there have been differences between the parties, but claimed that this was not a major problem.
“We have a bigger goal to achieve together as partners in PR and this is a huge responsibility,” he declared.
In typical Pakatan fashion, Mustafa blamed the mainstream media, such as Star and Utusan Malaysia, were allegedly blowing the issues out of proportion.
The ties between both parties has been strained due to PAS’ insistence on rolling out an Islamist agenda. Its plan to implement hudud nationwide if Pakatan wins power at Putrajaya has led to the embarrassing spectacle of PAS leaders and Karpal publicly calling each other names.
Yet on Saturday morning, Karpal held his nose, and declared that PAS was a solid principal partner in Pakatan – clearly choosing political expediency in the lead up to GE 13, despite the differences between both parties.
Sadly for Pakatan though, Mustafa has declined to reciprocate, by remaining silent on the issue of Pakatan’s choice for PM. As it has done over hudud, the Islamist party seems prepared to sacrifice coalition unity at the altar of its own ideology and interests.
That can only mean one thing: PAS wants to call the shots in the coalition, and the rest of Pakatan better watch out.
This is a wake-up call for voters too. PAS is not going to let such niceties as democracy and the rights of non-Muslims come in the way of implementing what it sees fit for Malaysian society if it ever gets its hands on real power.