Utusan Malaysia is actively disseminating the idea that PAS should part ways with Pakatan Rakyat. The paper suggests that DAP and PKR are treating PAS disrespectfully and it insists that PAS should quit the political alliance because of that.
The allegation of how PAS being treated is something I only take with a grain of salt. The daily after all has a not-too-innocent reputation of manipulating issues to suit its political bias. The motive of the daily is as clear as daylight.
Clear as it may be, the less than perfect relationship between PAS and their partners in Pakatan Rakyat is for everybody to witness. From the top of my head, the butt incident at the Kelana Jaya protest, the entertainment show at the Sultan of Selangor Cup and logging plan in Kedah are three issues which at least two of the three Pakatan Rakyat members do not find themselves on the same page.
Despite my misgiving for PAS, I do prefer the party to stay within the alliance and not work with UMNO. I voted for it on March 8 with my dissatisfaction against UMNO and Barisan Nasional in mind. Furthermore, I have learned to live with the fact that broad coalition is needed to achieve an end. And to a large extent, this cooperation has seen PAS being considerably contained from pursuing its political goals, much to my delight. My rationale for taking a pragmatic line works and that is not just due to limits imposed on the influence of the Islamist party but also due to the fact that I am content that we now have somewhat a small government.
This has humbled PAS. While indeed PAS has grown stronger in absolute terms, comparatively it does not do as well as PKR or DAP in terms of influence in policies. Prior to the election, I heard of complaints from PKR members of how arrogant PAS were in treating PKR. DAP also gave PKR the same treatment but the post-election scenario has realigned power in a way that PAS now find themselves at the bottom of the peaking order in the tripartite political alliance. This reality check does not bore well with PAS.
The cooperation between DAP and PKR is also something I celebrate. I believe in the merging of the two parties. While I celebrate, the closer relationship between DAP and PKR compared to either party with PAS gives the idea that DAP and PKR are not taking PAS seriously. Whatever PAS think, Utusan Malaysia and other media leaning toward UMNO certainly are trying to create division between the ranks of Pakatan Rakyat by highlighting the distance between DAP-PKR and PAS.
From the very beginning, the media close to UMNO have been trying to get PAS and PKR out of the coalition, stating that Malay unity is under threat. After sometimes, these media have referred to PKR less and less and are concentrating on PAS instead. From Malay unity, these media are concentrating on the sanctity of Islam, allegedly that it is under threat.
This is a beauty of politics I suppose. The narrative changes so quickly that one cannot remember what was the last one. Orwell in writing Nineteen Eighty-Four does not kid us about Oceania and Eastasia have always been friends with each other in warring Eurasia, except that last week, Ocean and Eurasia have always friends with each other fighting Eastasia.
Whatever it is, this is something that PAS has to figure out alone. They could stand their ground and work as part of Pakatan Rakyat or be enticed by offers from UMNO.
It has to be said though that the philosophical difference between the three, especially between DAP and PAS, was identified earlier as an issue that might prevent larger cooperation. Needless to say, bridging the gap requires effort. PAS can either invest in building that bridge or take the easy road to power by joining the likes of UMNO and pretend all that allegations of corruption they made against UMNO were just cheap words of politics.
If PAS leaves, I would certainly sorely miss it. But I would certainly remember it and would vow never vote for PAS again. PAS has only to prove me wrong with regard to my question of Sophie for me to vote against the Islamist party in the future.