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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Those who told us to trust PAS cannot be trusted

Do you remember what they said about Pakatan Rakyat? That it was a coalition of equal partners. That decisions are made based on consensus.

That PAS consists of moderates, and it cannot defy the will of its coalition partners, and that Pakatan Rakyat will no longer repeat the mistakes of the past.

Well, who’s laughing now? Back then, I was the only Chinese (that I knew of) who argued that PAS cannot be trusted, and Pakatan Rakyat was headed toward an inevitable break-up.

When I told that to friends in the run-up to the 2008 and 2013 general elections, everyone called me a worrywart because the need to topple Barisan Nasional (BN) trumps all concerns.

Well, it turns out I was both right. And wrong.

I was right that PAS hadn’t moved away from its hardline Islamism. I was right that Pakatan Rakyat would collapse over the hudud issue. I was right that DAP and PKR would whine about the whole episode but be otherwise helpless to do anything about it.

But I was completely wrong about PAS’ betrayal. PAS never pretended to be what it isn’t. Spare me the talk that there were once so-called “moderates” or “progressives” in the party.

PAS leaders have consistently and publicly said that their goal is to set up an Islamic state. To their credit, they don’t pull crazy U-turns like former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, DAP and PKR.

Moreover, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng himself said in a statement released on April 30, 2013, that “PAS has the democratic right, on its own, to champion Islam and the concept of an Islamic state.”

So how did PAS betray DAP (and Pakatan Rakyat) when it chose to pursue that “democratic right”?

After all, PAS never pushed for hudud under Pakatan’s banner. It did so through the Kelantan state government, which it heads. There are plenty of news articles on this.

The truth is DAP and PKR leaders deceived themselves and, in turn, their voters on the viability of their ill-conceived alliance of convenience with PAS. To win elections, they ignored all the warning signs, stuck their heads in the sand, and told others to do the same.

Now, they’re doing the same thing with Mahathir’s PPBM in Pakatan Harapan (PH). Do they think we’re that stupid?

Ask yourself this: What is Mahathir’s main objective now? What does Malaysia’s most cunning politician want out of PH? The man who, until former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and current PM Najib Razak defied him, always found a way to get his way.

Does he want institutional reform? Then why did he concentrate power in his prime minister’s office, arrest dissenters, and destroy the judiciary?

Does he want to fight corruption? Then why did so many financial scandals happen under his watch?

Does he want to end race-based policies? Then why did he push for race-based policies throughout his entire political career? And why does he still support them today?

Is he trying to right his wrongs? Seriously? He hasn’t even admitted to those wrongs or shown genuine remorse for them.

For crying out loud, the man still blames the Ops Lalang ISA arrests on the police lah! And the #UndiRosak folks are supposed to be the naïve ones? (full disclosure: I’m not a supporter of #UndiRosak)

Nothing in common

There is one – and only one – credible explanation for Mahathir’s participation in Pakatan: he wants Najib gone.

So, let’s say that happens. Why would Mahathir and his party continue sticking around with their PH partners?

They would have no reason to. They have almost nothing in common with DAP, PKR or Amanah. They do have a lot in common with Umno, though.

You see where I’m going here. These ex-Umno leaders are merely using naïve opposition forces to take over Umno from the outside. PPBM just needs to have one argument with DAP over say, bumiputera policies (and you know it’s coming) and boom, the Mahathirists head back to Umno to “berjuang untuk maruah bangsa” or what-not.

Why does PH keep pulling this crap on us? As far as I’m concerned, the people who told us to trust PAS back then and are now asking us to trust PPBM (and that former dictator) can shut the hell up.

They have absolutely zero credibility left. It’s astounding that their words are given any credence at all by our supposedly independent online media. Apparently, intelligence and skepticism are too much to ask for these days.

See, rejecting Mahathir and PH isn’t about searching for perfect politicians or perfect coalitions.

Instead, it’s about refusing to be manipulated (again). It’s about saying “TAK NAK” to industrial-strength stupidity. Because we have brains. Because kita tidak mudah lupa. Because we’re not idiots.

I believe in drowning PH in this general election (GE14), so we can finally have a genuine two-party system – one dominated by ideas, not scheming politicians continuously “pakat-ing” whenever they damn please over personal vendettas and ambitions.

That model of politics has never gotten us anywhere and needs to die a final death. You can call me naive, but as we’ve already seen, nothing is more naive than alliances of convenience.

Sebastian Loh is an FMT reader.

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