Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Changing Monsoons - Will Pas join BN?
Wrenched from the dreamscape of the old man into the stark reality of a streak of losses in the recent series of by-elections beginning with Galas in Kelantan and ending in Merlimau in Melaka, the Islamic party, Pas, must decide now whether to continue with the malfunctioning PKR and the DAP with its new outlook, or join the Barisan Nasional (BN) before the 13th General Elections.
The venerated Nik Aziz Nik Mat, after his foiled attempt to hoist his son-in-law, Ariffahmi, into the heights of Kelantan to succeed him as Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), confused party members everywhere.
Morale in the party buckled in misery.
It was behavior unbecoming of a stoic puritanical, his charisma, though only slightly injured because of his age (78), nevertheless cast him into the shadow of doubt, the injury generally reasoned as sourced in senility.
The man has been handsomely clean. The person is otherwise loaded with graceful sense of humor and political wit that have made him a rustic legend.
Until he skidded on the crest of power and his willful political ambition bloated and burst into the open last year, Nik Aziz has been an international figurine of the patriarch who had successfully mixed the traditional Islamic ideology with an astuteness that kept the Pas alive in a pact with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) that has recently taken to making it up with the Christian Right.
But now there is an intruder in the tested equation, an instant put-together vehicle of Anwar Ibrahim.
But the 11 year-old Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has become some wonder.
After winning 31 seats in parliament in March 2008 it soon lost five of its lawmakers who jumped boat, citing as the reasons their disability to work with and to have faith in the party leadership, meaning Anwar and his lieutenant, Azmin Ali, formerly his confidential secretary.
Gross malpractices were alleged in the recent party elections.
Of the listed membership, which was supposed to have been more than 400,000, only about 40,000 cast their ballots, a record vanishing act the super illusionist, David Copperfield, should attempt to outdo to retain his stature in the world of magic.
In the wake of the frantic comedy a few top leaders of the Pas had agreed to talk it over with the Umno, no doubt as a safety measure to ensure the Malays will not lose all in what can be a political wind of change that may blow nobody any good.
It was something the old man, Nik Aziz, found critically adverse and he baulked publicly, then he let fly against the party president, the deputy president, the chief of the party’s council of scholars (ulama) of which he is a member, and the secretary-general to boot.
He had publicly bashed the highest echelon of the party’s policy-makers, declaring himself as the “ship’s captain”. He is the general guide (murshidul am) of the party.
When the comic tempest subsided, the combustible captain found he had grounded his ship.
But there was no mutiny.
The stoic who has been going in and out of intensive care has quite apparently become senile but was still needed for the Pas to keep Kelantan.
The Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, who had denied him the state’s oil royalty worth more than RM 120 million annually, obviously fueled the fire in the belly of the sage, prompting the wonderful displays of his tremendous temper.
In the wracking tensions inside the Pas, suddenly His Majesty, the Yang Dipertuan Agong (King) hosted a dinner bringing the leaders of the Pas and the Umno into the amicable ambience of the palace on 24 Dec 2010.
Mahameru (Mount Olympus) had taken notice and the winds were meant to change henceforth.
Even if nobody in the Pas or the Umno had been willing to tell what, in fact, had transpired in the august chamber of royal diplomacy, Malaysians, as a common display of political erudition, generally expected great shifts of the political bulks to happen at any time.
The options are a matter of simple arithmetic, like if the DAP with the solid Chinese support were to win 50 parliamentary seats in the next general elections, the PKR, which is left with 26 and the Pas with 23, cannot dream of outdoing the presently Christian-friendly social democrats to provide for a Muslim Prime Minister.
The winning number in parliament is 112. You can add on the numbers above for the Pas and PKR where you believe it can happen and then see if the equation will fit a formula for sustained stability in Malaysia.
Can the Pas become like the PKS (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera) of Indonesia and open its doors to everyone regardless of race and religion while pursuing Islam without the Shariah (Religous Law)?
It will probably become the largest political organization in Malaysia if it does that. But will it do it?
The DAP, which succeeded Singapore’s PAP, cannot be believed to have completely cut the umbilical.
When the PAP government in Singapore said Anwar was guilty of what he was charged in the sodomy trial, it raised doubt and caused a lot of people to demand Anwar deny the allegation by oath.
Singapore said Anwar had known it was a trap but chose to walk straight into it anyway, which was damning.
Yesterday the Pas’ council of scholars’ chief, Harun Taib, asked Anwar to dispel the doubt by oath.
The monsoon has swung around. It is clear the party is once again thinking of the options before it and the likelihood is it will sit in conference with Umno and decide to change the equations.
Has the stoical sage been tamed? Or has he himself finally given in to the doubt caused by the Singapore condemnation Anwar has not dispelled?
Anwar is obliged to take the oath. But it is entirely up to him.
Someone has written to say the denial by oath is all there is between him and power in Putrajaya.
While that may be an exaggerated view of the equation at present, Najib’s failure to arrest the bread-and-butter price-hikes and to moderate the property bubble will finally bring the regime change in a rush.
There will be a storm soon accompanying a world currency breakdown and the accompanying economic and political turmoil. If the economic mismanagement is allowed to run uncontrolled in Malaysia, all state governments can be expected to become bankrupt in 2012, including solvent Selangor and Penang.
It is up to Anwar to bring change. The other messiah, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (with Muhyiddin Yassin in a duo) is still in need of a little time to ready himself.
All Anwar is expected to utter in the Saiful Bukhari sodomy case is “By God (Wa’l-Lah), I did not do it.”
In the Eskay blue video allegation, it is simply “By God (Wa’l-Lah), the man in the sex-video is not me.”
Prostitution is allowed in the Holy Qur’an (Q.24:33) some Muslims argue and hence, this grand mastery of sex video-making by Eskay can be a source of lucrative income for those of such ilk.
The sex video, therefore, is not dynamite. But alas, indelible doubt over the Saiful sodomy event persists after Singapore successfully raised it by deliberate political and diplomatic deliverances.
So, will Anwar take the oath? He can simply do it before the Press at his residence, and be done.
Doubt, in cases such as this, must be eliminated and no matter what Maulana Yusof Qaradhawi may have said or may have to say to Anwar on this matter, the venerable scholar will agree the resident traditional ideology cannot be dispelled even by the peerless such as him.
Take the oath or it would be best for the Pas to decide joining the BN and avoid the confusion of a leader whose character and integrity violate the residing ideological nuances.
Who is Anwar playing the game for? What will be the naked reality in the next chapter of the Anwar Saga and what shall be the dream unchecked?
The Pas will be in its annual general meeting and electing a new crop of leaders in the first week of June. Then, pending Anwar's choice of action or inaction, the deliberations will settle in the Pas and in the Umno a decision in the reaches of the Malay collective conscience. ----a. ghani ismail, 24 May, 2011