PETALING JAYA: DAP has called on PAS to make a stand on working with Umno and retaining Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as the Selangor Mentri Besar.
“Its leaders must also spell out how they will handle the powerful conservative faction within PAS, which is threatening to split its own party and Pakatan Rakyat,” said Klang MP Charles Santiago in a statement on Thursday.
“Pakatan Rakyat, on its part, must also figure out how it aims to work together with PAS, which has reneged on the coalition’s consensus and common policy one too many times,” he said in a statement.
Referring to a leaked WhatsApp message that disclosed a conversation between PAS central committee members, including Dr Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki, Santiago said it did not come as a shock as incidents like this have happened before.
“(The coalition) has, at regular intervals in the past, seen PAS blatantly going against consensus reached by Pakatan Rakyat. Some of the thorny issues remain the formation of an Islamic state, the position of Islam and Malay supremacy.
“It certainly will not be off the mark if I said that this has led us to lose the hearts and minds of Malaysians. They are quite simply fed up with PAS’ rhetoric, which goes against the spirit of the coalition,” he added.
Santiago said the conservative elements within PAS have already been openly discussing the contents of the group text messages, which suggests that electoral re-delineation later this year can be made to favour Malay and Muslim voters through a PAS-Umno pact in Selangor.
“(It) also looks into the possibility of PAS and UMNO working together to keep Khalid Ibrahim as the Selangor Menteri Besar while swatting away noises made by non-Muslims and the DAP,” he said.
He added that these messages have serious implications, raising crucial questions as to how big the faction within the party that has aligned itself with Umno is and how much of a discussion has taken place between the two parties in order for Zuhdi to be clear about PAS leaving the opposition coalition to join Umno.
“We need answers and we need PAS to come clean. PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang also seems to have thrown his support behind Umno, inadvertently, by resisting the removal of Khalid.
“He made the announcement after his party actually agreed to replace the current Menteri Besar with PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at a special meeting attended by PKR, PAS and DAP leaders,” said Santiago.
The Klang MP added that, opposition chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s description of the potentially explosive issue as a “misunderstanding” that included “comments from the lower rungs that are not appropriate” was merely “apple-polishing the issue”.
“The three Opposition political parties have different ideologies but came together on a common platform, agreeing to work on a consensus, where we fought so hard for a clean electoral process.
“We marched with fellow Malaysians and Bersih leaders calling for free and fair elections and the 2008 general election saw PR’s overwhelming victory, denying the ruling party a two thirds majority in Parliament,” he added.
Santiago said the people voted for the coalition as they had been promised a fair and just government.“The rakyat backed us as we vowed to be accountable and transparent. PAS has gone back on these promises and now owes the people an explanation,” he said.