Time to take a tough stand against PAS for betraying the rakyat

By Charles Santiago, MP for Klang


(Pic from Antarapos.com)

The message could not have been clearer. The people of Kelantan have spoken loud and clear, attempting to knock some sense into PAS.

Instead of hudud, the Kelantanese want its state government to look into issues that affect them on a daily basis – rising prices, struggling economy, the soon-to-be-implemented GST, lack of infrastructure and especially, the uncertainty following the devastating floods.

And yet all PAS can think about is bulldozing the Shariah Bill at the state legislative sitting this Wednesday and at Parliament later this month.

Now, PAS boasts of support from the Kelantan Ruler as well.

Kelantan has for long remained the poorest state in the country. Its largely agriculture-driven economy is sluggish while its economic and infrastructure development remain wanting.

The national GDP growth is 4.7 percent. Kelantan’s grew by 3.6 percent in 2013.

Eyewitness accounts reveal lots more need to be done urgently to help the people of Kelantan, particularly the Orang Asli, to get back on their feet after the floods that damaged properties and livelihood, not to mention the loss of lives.

And yet, PAS seems focused only in implementing the Shariah law in Kelantan. This obstinate determination and sheer arrogance has not just taken a whack at PAS’ image but also that of the Opposition coalition.

Firstly PAS is our coalition partner. And Pakatan Rakyat has always maintained it is for a secular state.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) has always fought to get hudud off the table, as it goes against our pledge to the rakyat.

It’s therefore disheartening that PAS can nonchalantly dismiss Pakatan Rakyat’s rallying cry before the March 2008 general election.

We engaged with the people with a clear agenda of change and reform, to instill good governance, to return the independence of the judiciary, to weed out corruption and cronyism and also to always maintain a secular Malaysia.

PAS wanted in and signed on the dotted lines, agreeing to the core principles of the Opposition Coalition.

We saw a stunning victory at the polls, both in 2008 and 2013. The public trusted us and voted overwhelmingly for us, to the extent that we clinched the popular votes and left UMNO and other BarisanNasional component parties stunned.

To be honest, PAS’ insistence on going against Pakatan Rakyat’s core values comes as no surprise to me. The party is grappling with a deep divide among its upper echelon leaders, with the more progressive ones urging the hardliners to work with the Opposition pact.

Furthermore, PAS and especially its chief Abdul HadiAwang, refused to work together with the coalition when dealing with the MB crisis involving former MenteriBesar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

And Hadi has previously said he is agreeable to cooperating with UMNO to protect the Malays. He also admitted to offering current MB Azmin Ali to join PAS together with some PKR members to form a unity government with UMNO.

Now we have PAS, under Hadi’s orders, all prepared to table the Shariah Bill.

And so maybe its time that Pakatan Rakyat makes tough decisions against PAS for failing to adhere to the coalition’s common platform and most importantly, for betraying the rakyat.

*The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and may not necessarily represent the views of The Rocket

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