A concert by American pop star Selena Gomez in Selangor state last year was cited as one reason why Malaysia's Islamist party should sever ties with fellow opposition party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
At its ongoing annual congress in Kedah, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is debating whether to ditch its tahaluf siyasi (political cooperation) with PKR, and the Gomez event reinforced the issue.
"The Selangor chief minister is not committed to strengthening Islam. One example is Selena Gomez's concert," said PAS Selangor Youth delegate Aubidullah Fahim Ibrahim yesterday.
Both the Youth and Ulama (clerics) wings of PAS have adopted resolutions calling on their leaders to cut ties, a major step that could significantly shrink the party's political power in Selangor.
"We note that PKR has breached many conditions of its political cooperation with PAS so the Ulama wing assembly agrees to bring a motion to seek the dissolution of cooperation between PAS and PKR," said the Ulama wing's motion committee chairman Khairuddin Aman Razali on Thursday.
MOTION TO END TIES
We note that PKR has breached many conditions of its political cooperation with PAS so the Ulama wing assembly agrees to bring a motion to seek the dissolution of cooperation between PAS and PKR.
PAS ULAMA WING'S KHAIRUDDIN AMAN RAZALI, on why PAS wants to sever ties.
Federal opposition parties PKR, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and PAS have jointly ruled Selangor since they won the state in the 2008 general election. But their tripartite alliance ended two years ago amid policy disputes, chiefly between secular DAP and PAS, which decided to return to its fundamentalist Islamic roots and push for harsher Islamic punishments.
The PKR-PAS relationship has also soured in recent months when the former alleged the latter had received funds from ruling party Umno. Meanwhile, PAS delegates say PKR has failed to prioritise Islam, a condition of its tahaluf siyasi.
Ending its political cooperation with PKR will inevitably weaken PAS in Selangor. More importantly, it will split votes for the opposition, giving the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition the chance to retake Malaysia's richest state.
PAS' highest decision-making body, the majlis syura (consultative council) - comprising its most senior clerics - will decide on its ties with PKR by the end of the five-day congress on Monday.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang yesterday evening briefed party members on the tahaluf siyasi issue at a closed-door meeting.
PAS and PKR have 13 seats each in the Selangor legislature, while a further 14 seats are held by DAP and two by PAS' offshoot Parti Amanah Negara. There are 56 seats in the state assembly in total.
Reacting to PAS' threats of divorce, PKR's secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said in a statement yesterday that PAS should quickly make a decision, and if it chooses to end ties with PKR, "the dignified and respectable thing to do" is for PAS leaders to relinquish their three state Cabinet posts in Selangor.
"Any other move (other than severing ties) will only nauseate the people because it would seem that the opposition are busy attacking each other, while at the same time wanting to receive 'goodies' from posts held in Selangor," Datuk Saifuddin said.