By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
PAS has become more and more self-confident and it is not a good thing for Umno.
The confidence came from the adjustment in election strategy, as well as the increase in support, including the joining of retired senior government officials.
It was reported earlier in Malay-language newspapers that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang expressed his willingness to hold talks with Umno, making Umno thought that it had grabbed an issue to attack the Pakatan Rakyat.
Unexpectedly, Hadi Awang clarified later that the party expressed its willingness to talk to non-governmental organisations accusing the party of deviating from the struggle of Islam, but somehow misinterpreted as agreed to talk to Umno. It turned out that Umno had asked for a snub.
Party spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat listed two conditions for a talk with Umno, namely Umno must change the national policy into Islamic policy and accept the Pakatan Rakyat.
It seems unusual this time as Nik Aziz actually agreed to cooperate with Umno. However, it is impossible to honour the conditions. How would other BN component parties agree to implement Islamic policies? Also, Umno will never accept Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The point of the ploy is, it tells supporters and non-governmental organisations that PAS still adheres to the struggle of Islam and it is Umno which is resisting it.
The election is so close to the immediate and how would PAS talk to Umno in the current situation? The Bersih 3.0 rally has boosted its momentum and it is expected to win more votes from swing voters.
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu claimed in early this month that according to the latest poll conducted by the party in seven states, the party gained 5% more support rate from Malay voters compared to the 2008 general election. They did not rule out a surprise in Negeri Sembilan and Malacca, while it looked good in Johor, too.
The move of former Federal Criminal Investigations Department (CID) director Datuk Fauzi Shaari of joining PAS has also confused some civil servants. Retired civil servants being good taken care by the government do not necessarily support Umno.
Since PAS is so confident, it would not be tangled by the hudud law or the Islamic State issue. Hadi Awang said in Kuala Terengganu on May 1 that once the Pakatan Rakyat comes into power, the Federal Constitution would be amended to upgrade the Islam status from "official religion" to "Addin". The remarks were greatly criticised by DAP national chairman Karpal Singh. Hadi Awang later clarified that he had never thought about amending the Fededral Constitution and the Pakatan Rakyat also reiterated the agreement reached by the three component parties in August last year, that the hudud law will not be part of the joint policy of the Pakatan Rakyat.
No matter whether PAS is sincere in setting aside the idea of religious ruling or it is only meant for strategical needs, its flexibility should be used as a reference for Umno.
The government has its considerations for not approving a Chinese independent school in Kuantan. However, why can't the policy be adjusted and the decision made in the past be changed?
Umno needs to keep its basic supporters while PAS is having the same concern. It is true that we really cannot have our cake and eat it, too? Loosening policies will leave a greater space and a broader perspective, as well as help in fighting for more swing votes.
The massive rally organised by PAS in Alor Setar on June 1 is expected to pressure Umno. With confidence and morale, PAS is the true enemy of Umno.