Friday, January 31, 2014


That was the report by Zulkifli Sulong of The Malaysian Insider, onetime Editor of Harakah, the party organ of Malaysia’s Islamic party, PAS. I had, in fact, written about this issue in my previous article ‘Is a marriage over the horizon?’ (READ HERE)
PKR’s Secretary-General, Saifuddin Nasution, was also in London at that time and the purpose was for PKR, PAS and Umno to sit down and discuss the plan for some sort of unity government. Of course, DAP and the other non-Malay component parties in Barisan Nasional were not kept in the loop because the purpose of this unity government was more to serve Malay interests and the interests of Islam.
The PAS President, Abdul Hadi Awang, however, refused to join the meeting and instead he sent his political secretary, Dr Ahmad Shamsuri Mokhtar, and the PAS Secretary-General, Mustafa Ali, to attend the meeting, with Saifuddin representing PKR and Zahid Hamidi representing Umno.

In principle, it was agreed that they would bring this discussion to the next level only if PAS could be convinced to agree to the idea. Thus far, PAS was playing ‘hard to get’. Not only Hadi but also Nik Aziz Nik Mat was not warm to the idea of a unity government with Umno.
If you can remember, I first wrote about the idea of a unity government six years ago back in 2008, an idea that even Hadi, at that time, accepted. However, I was whacked good and proper for even suggesting the issue. I realised that Malaysians were not yet ready for mature politics like here in the UK so I decided to back off.
We probably might need a decade or two before Malaysians would be able to see that we can contest the elections hammer and tongs but once the election is over we need to sit down and concentrate on the business of running the country. As it is now, we are still fighting the very next day after the general election right up to Polling Day of the next election five years later.
We cannot keep fighting day in and day out and play the never-ending game of one-upmanship. Once it has been decided who is to form the government this government needs to focus on bringing the country forward. How to bring the country forward when we keep turning back the clock to 13th May 1969?
In other countries it is about progress, development and wealth. In Malaysia it is about politics, race and religion. Does it matter whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat is in power when both sides play the same game of outdated politics?
Anyway, PKR is agreeable to the idea of a unity government but PAS is not. And I suspect if DAP, MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan, etc., were asked they too would say no as they would be suspicious that this is about Malay interests and Islam. Maybe if the unity government were more ‘secular’ in nature it would get the support of the others, but probably not the support of PAS.
Anyway, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced yesterday that Umno is prepared to sit down and talk about national unity but not about exploring the possibility of a unity government.
Anwar Ibrahim, on the other hand, talks about national consensus, which is probably national reconciliation by another name. Anwar certainly has a way with words like when he said, “The general consensus in Pakatan is that we have to move and enhance the level of achievement and use Pakatan leadership as a whole as a launching pad to move to Putrajaya.”
What Anwar means is that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim needs to be replaced. Can you see how he has a way with words?
Well, that sort of kills the whole idea of a unity government. If Umno, PKR and PAS do, in the end, agree to talk, it will just focus on the issue of national unity. This would basically mean they would just be talking about how to avoid a ‘May 13 Version 2’. That is all the talks will be about.
In the meantime, they will still whack each other, slander each other, challenge each other, and debate about who will make a better Prime Minister, Najib or Anwar. And in the meantime, also, Malaysia will go to the dogs as both sides fight over the job of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Gossip on Broadway
PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang, Secretary-General Mustafa Ali, Information Chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, and Hadi’s political secretary Dr Ahmad Shamsuri Mokhtar visiting Gossip on Broadway in Manchester, UK, on Boxing Day of 2013.

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