Najib puts Islamist party in a fix

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The Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is in a fix as it will have to wait for a longer time before it sees the realisation of its political dream of getting the Hudud (Islamic laws) to be implemented in Kelantan.

This after PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Bill to increase Shariah punishments got delayed and will not be read that soon in the Parliament.

But the PAS has to deal with another thorny issue, which it is trying to dodge, and that is the assertion by Prime Minister Najib Razak that there are all possibilities that the ruling Malay party Umno will cooperate with PAS.

Najib said on March 12 that anything can happen in the current state of affairs, not dismissing an Umno-PAS deal for the next General Elections (GE) in Malaysia.

But the problem with the PAS is that it is in denial mode, with many of its leaders claiming there will be no political deal with the Umno.

Even though we know the PAS has said it would want to go to the polls as the third force, it is clear that it will have to cut deals with either the opposition group Pakatan Harapan (Hope coalition) or the Barisan Nasional or National Front commonly known as BN.

Najib said, for now, both parties are doing their duties without a working arrangement.

The PAS dilemma deepens with statements from Umno leaders that they want to ‘snatch’ the state held by the PAS, Kelantan, in the next GE.

This puts the PAS in a double fix, one which it should have expected when it deals with the ruling parties, said an observer to The Independent.

He said Umno will surely want to control Kelantan and Terengganu, two Malay heartland states, in its bid to show that it is a party fighting for the ‘Islamic’ cum Malay cause.

“But if the PAS want to play the third force – a strategy that will definitely cause the downfall of the opposition grouping if they are not careful in their planning – then the PAS will be in for a surprise in Kelantan.

“A three party fight in Kelantan and Terengganu will give way to the Umno as it will spoil the opposition’s vote and it is obvious the PAS is aware of this.

“Hence I foresee the PAS working together with Umno as has been said by Najib Razak, in order to keep Kelantan but also rule Terengganu albeit both can only be achieved with Umno as a political partner,” he said.