MUAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is vying to become the kingmaker in the upcoming Malaysia election and form the next ruling government after the polls, its syura (consultative) council chief Mahfodz Mohamed said.
"If we secure 40 parliamentary seats, we can be the kingmaker as Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan will not have enough seats to form the government. They will then have to negotiate with us," said Datuk Mahfodz during a political rally in Melaka on Friday (March 30).
The Islamist party has said that it will contest 130 of the 222 federal Parliament seats in the general election that is expected to be called within weeks.
Such a move would cause multiple three-cornered fights, badly splitting votes for the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance as it does battle with the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's parties for control of Parliament.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in January said that it aims to win at least 40 seats so that it can emerge the kingmaker in the event that no single party is able to win the 112 seats needed for a simple majority.
PAS currently holds 13 parliamentary seats.
Dr Mahfodz said its goal of winning 40 parliamentary seats was not too far-fetched as the party will field a record number of candidates in the general election.
He cited the example of Johor state, where PAS intends to contest a total of 59 parliamentary and state seats. "For the first time, PAS will contest in 40 out of the 56 state seats and 19 out of the 26 parliamentary seats," he said.
In the last general election in the state, PAS contested in eight parliamentary and 31 state seats. The party however, only managed to win four state seats which are now held by the PAS offshoot, Parti Amanah Negara.
PAS had its best electoral performance in 1999 when it won 27 parliamentary seats at the height of the Reformasi movement to protest the sacking and arrest of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in 1998.
As kingmaker, Dr Mahfodz said that PAS would be in the position to impose conditions on either BN or PH.
"We do not want the post of prime minister, power or position but to be the 'kingmaker'," said Dr Mahfodz. "The condition is that they (either Barisan or Pakatan) uphold Islam and form an Islamic government," he stressed.
PAS previously contested under the opposition's Pakatan Rakyat alliance, a predecessor of the PH pact, but severed ties with the alliance over a lack of support for its push for hudud law (Islamic criminal code) in Kelantan.
It has since formed a bloc of opposition parties called the Gagasan Sejahtera, or the Movement of Harmony, with smaller factions Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia (Ikatan), which will be taking part in its first elections, and Berjasa, a small Islamist party.
PAS earlier this month launched a manifesto under the Gagasan Sejahtera banner championing Islamic empowerment for the country. The manifesto outlined the party's commitment to push through a proposed law that will enhance the sentencing powers of the Syariah, or Muslim, Courts.
On the implementation of hudud law, Dr Mahfodz said he had been asked by party members why it had yet to be done. He clarified that the this would be done through accepted processes once PAS comes to power.