MALAYSIA (SIN CHEW DAILY/THE ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - On Jan 9 (Saturday), the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) central committee met at party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The meeting was chaired by none other than Datuk Seri Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, its president.
And among the issues many believed would have been discussed at the meeting was the feud between Bersatu and Umno, both PAS allies in Perikatan Nasional and Muafakat Nasional.
As we know, PAS is in both alliances, with Bersatu in PN and Umno in MN.
As such, it's only natural for PAS to have special interest in the issue. Hence, expectations were high that the party would not only discuss the worsening Bersatu-Umno spat but make a stand on the matter.
But when the meeting was adjourned, what did PAS tell the Malaysian public via the media?
That its central committee did not "even discuss" the Bersatu-Umno feud. Committee member Khairuddin Aman Razali described the feud as "internal" matter, hence no issue as to whom PAS would work with in the next general election.
The meeting according to him was just a routine one.
Seriously Tuan Haji? Did not even discuss it? Never mind not making a stand.
Hard to believe if you ask me considering the big interest PAS has in this matter and the stakes at hand. The feud is, after all, a big problem!
But don't get me wrong. I am not accusing Khairuddin of anything. I'll take his word.
At the same time, I am reminded of a news report before the PAS central committee meeting which reported Bersatu supreme council member Dr Muhamad Faiz Na'aman asking PAS to decide if it wanted to be with his party or Umno in the next general election.
I would not want to say the Bersatu man had issued an ultimatum to PAS, but Muhammad Faiz was quoted as saying, "Although there are no problems between PAS and Bersatu, I feel it (PAS) must decide whom it will be with in GE15 as this will make it easier for us to prepare for the elections."
And a day before the PAS meeting, its treasurer Iskandar Abdul Samad said PAS would discuss the call by many Umno divisions for Umno to cut ties with Bersatu. The call was made at the divisional meetings across the nation last week.
Still, somehow PAS, taking into account what Khairuddin had announced to the media, did not "even discuss" the feud when its central committee met on Jan 9.
However, in saying that, Khairuddin also said this, "PAS empowers MN with Umno and defends the PN coalition with Bersatu and that is still consistent."
Consistent it may be, but PAS stands to be accused of "makan dua-dua belah" or to put it nicely, "wanting to have the cake and eat it". Rightly or wrongly.
Nevertheless, Khairuddin said PAS would not interfere in the affairs of Bersatu or Umno and would leave it to the two parties to resolve their differences.
Meanwhile, PAS veteran leader Datuk Mahfodz Mohamed was quoted by MalaysiaKini as saying his party would "continue to work so that its ally Umno could accept the fact it is necessary for them to remain in the coalition".
How? He did not say.
Need we be reminded that Umno was never in PN but several of its leaders are in the PN government?
Anyway, one day after Mahfodz said what he said, Umno MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub withdrew support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, prompting many in the political fraternity, including from Umno, calling him to step down as prime minister as he is seen as not having the majority in parliament.
As I write this, Muhyiddin's parliamentary majority is indeed in the balance because of what Jazlan did.
Perhaps as you read this, other MPs from Umno would have followed suit as "hinted" by former Umno minister who is also MP for Padang Rengas, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
It will be "interesting", to say the least, to see what PAS's next step would be.
Mohsin Abdullah is a veteran journalist and now a freelancer who writes about this, that and everything else. Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media organisations.