Rise of tensions between PAS and PKR

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) uses the Arabic term tahaluf siyasi, or political cooperation, to describe its collaboration with fellow opposition faction Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in Selangor. While PAS had broken off ties at the national level with PKR and the Chinese-led Democratic Action (DAP) in 2015, the Islamist party continues to work with PKR for practical reasons.

Since 2008, the PKR-DAP-PAS trio has jointly ruled Selangor, Malaysia's most industrialised state where the capital Kuala Lumpur sits.

Being part of the Selangor government means PAS has three state Cabinet posts, access to development funds and official control of mosques in the state.

But tensions rose in the past year after a PKR leader claimed PAS chiefs have received millions of ringgit from Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Relations worsened after PKR and DAP formed a new political alliance with PAS rebels who started Parti Amanah Negara, which is now part of the Selangor governing coalition.

The PAS grassroots now want the party to sever ties with PKR.

Any tahaluf siyasi agreement needs approval from PAS' highest decision-making body, the majlis syura (consultative council), comprising its most senior clerics. That same council will now decide whether to sever ties.

Reme Ahmad

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'Rise of tensions between PAS and PKR'. Print Edition | Subscribe