At the special session of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of PAS last Sunday, a unanimous decision was taken to support PKR’s choice of its President, Wan Azizah, for the post of Menteri Besar (MB) of Selangor.
PAS president Hadi Awang, who presided over the meeting, further proposed a second nominee to provide the Sultan of Selangor with a choice. Hadi forwarded PKR deputy president Azmin Ali as the second nominee, and that motion also received unanimous support.
When asked why the U-turn and withdrawal of support for Khalid Ibrahim, PAS Youth leader Suhaizan Kaiat said that the issue of support for Khalid became “academic” when he ceased to be a Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan) member. He said the earlier support was predicated on the fact that Khalid was still within Pakatan “at that point in time.” He also confirmed that the two nominees were proposed by Hadi and accepted by the entire CWC without exception.
Just hours later, Pakatan’s Presidential Council met in Subang Jaya. Present for PAS were its secretary general Mustafa Ali, deputy president Mohamad Sabu and vice-president Salahudin Ayub. Hadi did not attend. However, PAS representatives carried a letter of agreement nominating the two candidates as MB, signed by president Hadi.
By the end of the meeting, a joint statement had been drafted stating the Pakatan stand that Wan Azizah would be the sole nominee for the Sultan’s consideration for the post of MB. Mohamad Sabu endorsed the statement on behalf of PAS. The only stalwart for the original CWC position of two nominees was Mustafa.
Did the PAS team give in too easily, or did they use their own initiative to interpret a broader accommodation? Was it common sense from the progressives who have hitched their wagon to the Pakatan train, wishing to see an end to the war of words?
This truce between PAS, PKR and DAP does appear to meet with supreme leader Nik Aziz’s wish for peaceful cooperation between coalition partners, whose paramount concern is for Pakatan’s survival.
Mustafa and Hadi, who briefed Nik Aziz in Kota Bharu, were keen to express that the second nominee was endorsed and ready should the Sultan reject the first nominee.
It is interesting how Hadi herded the CWC to its ultimate decision, still holding onto the reins and injecting the second nominee. The CWC went along with Hadi; so Hadi got his way. Did PAS get its way?
Anwar Ibrahim has his way for now, until the Sultan weighs in on the matter after August 27. This too might be academic should His Highness decide that snap polls are in order.
A moment’s reflection should tell of the embarrassing state of affairs between PKR and PAS, quibbling over “two” or “one” till the final moments. But in politics, image and impressions are everything, and these masters of illusion have finally, with beaming smiles, issued their joint statement in front of the cameras.
We may never know if Azmin’s decline of the co-nomination from PAS was done in sincere deference to the party president, or in self-preservation, or as personal sacrifice to spare the party from further infighting. In any case, PAS believes that his abilities pass muster for the job. He is still in line, should ever there be a need.
Maybe he is the tortoise in a race with the hare.