The Asian Voice

What is PAS President Hadi Awang up to? Sin Chew Daily

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, president of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, president of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).PHOTO: BH FILE

The party's recent moves seems to suggest it is acting against the wishes of supporters

Lim Sue Goan

Sin Chew Daily/Asia News Network

Once a party turns against the general public, it is well on its way towards self-destruction.

Opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) offers an excellent instance to this statement, while Umno and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) may be the next to go down the same way.

PAS president Hadi Awang found himself locked in a tussle with Democratic Action Party (DAP), leading eventually to the demise of Pakatan Rakyat and a complete change in his temperament thereafter.

He said Prime Minister Najib was not a holy man but just an ordinary human being prone to making mistakes. He also said any allegations made against the PM must be supported by solid evidences with unbiased witnesses.

It was also a strategic blunder for PAS to stay away from last month's Bersih 4.0 rally, and this shows that the party is alienating itself from the masses and the civic society.

Hadi's support for Najib has won the thumbs-up of the latter, who said the PAS president made the right evaluation at a time he was beleaguered by 1MDB and other issues.

As a matter of fact, commendations from the PM have already plunged the Islamic party into a state of utter embarrassment.

True as it is, the pro-Pakatan faction within PAS has opted to quit the party in favor of the new Parti Amanah Negara which has managed to lure many progressive and liberal PAS members to its fold, something quite inconceivable during Nik Aziz's time, as members have all this while pledged their undivided allegiance to party.

According to media reports, six MPs have already joined Amanah. Defections are particularly pronounced in the states of Johor and Selangor.

Amanah president Mohamad Sabu has said its membership has breached the 10,000-mark and will soar past 100,000 by year-end.

The number is not the point. More importantly, the fact that over a hundred practicing lawyers have joined Amanah underscores the predicament PAS is now in.

Hadi somewhat changed his tone during an assembly earlier this month, claiming that a leader should lead by example instead of making empty talks because the people would emulate him.

Well, the shift has come a little too late as damage has already been done.

PAS' future is bleak. If it were to opt to join Pakatan 2.0, it would definitely come under strong opposition from DAP while it may not work cordially with Amanah itself. If it were to go it alone, it would end up a marginalized political party at best.

The recent defection of MP for Tumpat Kamaruddin Jaafar and former Selangor MB Muhammad Taib for PKR has prompted the PAS president to say that his party would review its alliance with PKR.

While emotions could be incited against the Erdogans in party elections, PAS must never turn against the general public. The voters cast their votes for PAS because they believed the party would fight alongside its other Pakatan allies against the BN.

Hadi has undeniably betrayed the voters by pushing insistently for the hudud law.

PAS is not alone when it come to how a political party has failed its electoral mandate.

At a time when Malaysians yearn for greater peace and national unity to weather the current economic crisis, some Umno leaders have acted against such an aspiration through their involvement in race-motivated Rakyat Bersatu rally on September 16.

As the backbone party of the Barisan Nasional coalition, Umno should have thrown in all its effort to revitalize the lackluster economy and salvage the lethargic ringgit. Issuance of race-sensitive statements will not help lift the depressed economy even with the special economic measures unveiled by the PM yesterday.

What Malaysians are most concerned about now are the whereabouts of the RM2.6 billion (S$853 million) political donation banked into the PM's personal accounts as well as the RM42 billion debts incurred by 1MDB, among many others.

Unfortunately the Umno leadership only keeps buying time, draining off public confidence as time passes.