By Kanda Mohamad
PETALING JAYA: A new kid on the block – Pakatan Harapan (PH), whuch literally means pact of hope – to replace the defunct Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has been born, minus PAS, the Islamist party that attracts Islamic professionals who are fundamentalists and normal kampung folks.
At the same time, Selangor Menteri Besar who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Azmin Ali still insists the Islamist party is together with him in running the state, which simply means he recognises PAS as partner in the state.
How the opposition parties and the anti-establishment non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are going to get their act together is anybody’s guess but the new opposition pact has a new way to tie them all together for a very long time – a written binding agreement.
Yet to be listed, as it may take a month or longer says PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli to have the long list of policies and objectives or rather pact of hopes, the thrust of this new pact is to place Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister if they win the next general election.
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) comprising PAS rejects led by former deputy president Mohamad Sabu is its new member, claiming to replace PAS in representing Malay- Muslim voters.
What seems to be a formidable opposition force that had truly threatened the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) the years after 2013 general election, it now seems to have turned into an unorganised rebel group that may not even scare a domestic dog.
A loose alliance of parties, which at the end of last year was going strong with high credence to their leaders and objectives has now disintegrated into a more loose alliance of communal-based and a multi-racial parties – DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) – and a newly formed Parti Amanah Neghara (Amanah) whose leaders are profusely begging for support, so to speak.
The name itself Pakatan Harapan (PH) does not seem to attract except for DAP which has survived trial and turbulences on its own with its hard core supporters, who are Chinese as reflected in every general election the past three decades.
The party has now gained much ground and confidence of the community that even the ruling BN’s MCA and multi-racial but Chinese-based Gerakan have no more hopes of regaining their former position within the community.
Thus, the DAP is expected to be the backbone of PH, a switch that does not attract the Malays despite them not wanting to associate themselves with BN’s backbone Umno.
The recent Yellow shirt rally is a reflection of DAP’s strong influence among the Chinese with PKR, which has been riding high on its reformasi theme since 1998, is now seen as playing second fiddle to DAP in every political moves.
PAS is considered as a gone case for PH as its objectives to implement Hudud laws and Islamic state are obviously out of the long list of the binding agreement.
Besides that, PAS leaders consider Amanah leaders as traitors, Muslims who deviated from its original struggle and going back against their Bai’ah or oath to relinquish their seats upon leaving.
PH is initiated by DAP and PKR after DAP and PAS had a fall out but PKR needs PAS and hope the Islamist would bury its hatchet with DAP and join the new opposition pact.
With the political landscape changing into race-base, the new pact may be Chinese dominated and this may not go down well with the Malay voters, who despite their seemingly open and liberal attitude, they are still Malay at heart and the political scenario at present is must towards that.
Probably there goes the hopes they seek for.