Wfol.tv - Riau, Indonesia (26th Oct. 2009): Prime Minister Najib Razak is right: The Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is divided on cooperation with the United Malays National Organization (Umno). And that is nothing new. What is new is that the anti-Umno component of the PAS is taking brave steps that is giving the chill to the Umno.
Najib said there are quarters that give more importance to politics than the interest of the ummah, which indicates the difficulty that the Umno is actually having in bringing the PAS to join it in a coalition in the Barisan National (BN).
Nik Aziz, the PAS spiritual leader launched a daunting challenge to the pro-Umno leaders - who includes the President and the Vice-President of the PAS - to hold a party's Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in order to decide the future of the party. The EGM would also have decided on the role played by Party President Ustad Hadi Awang and Vice-President Nasaruddin Mat Esa in dividing the party over the cooperation with the Umno.
While the party was taken by surprise by Nik Aziz's move who made his wish known through his blog, the fact remains that the PAS cannot continue being misled over which group it will be loyal to. Will it be the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or will it be the BN? WIth Nik Aziz's call for the EGM, it was clear that news was out about the party leadership still courting the Umno for a possible jump to the BN.
Now thrown in the open, the PAS leadership has to prove it is not working in the shadows with the BN component party the Umno against the Pakatan Rakyat partners with which it is in a coalition that forms the opposition in Malaysia.
The party leadership was in panic mode with Nik Aziz's proposal while the Umno insisted that it was Anwar Ibrahim that was behind the latest 'scheming' by Nik Aziz to remove Hadi Awang and Nasaruddin from the party leadership. The fact is if the PAS follows the democratic process, it is probable that the two leaders of the party may be ousted if an EGM is ordered.
This panics the Umno and the pro-Umno leaders within the PAS indeed. The possibility of being turned down as leaders only months after winning the vote in the PAS Muktamar would be devastating for Hadi Awang and his group. This would also put the Umno far away from the 'dream' alliance with the PAS as it would keep the PAS within the Pakatan alliance.
If Anwar Ibrahim is really behind the 'scheming' as some Umno leaders and commentators are saying, then it was a great plan indeed to avert the 'flight' of the PAS from the cookoo's nest. Anwar cannot be blamed for being an astute politician who knows what is going on in his own backyard.
With the pro-Umno leaders and the Umno itself expressing their grief over Nik Aziz's wish for a full, short and quick EGM to decide on the party leadership, the story is made clear. The pro-Umno leaders are either almost certain of defeat in a 're-vote' or they are not sure of the outcome. This is because the outcome could also be against Nik Aziz and the party members could easily give their support to the current leadership and that would have meant a sure and certain pre-condition for two chains of events: 1. The PAS would be free to join the Umno in a broader 'Ummah' coalition, while 2. The PAS would definitely break apart if the leadership make the move to join the Umno in a coalition.
With a breaking away PAS, the Umno gains little while the Pakatan would be re-inforced with former PAS members who would be too obliged to join the Party Keadilaan Rakyat (PKR) for instance. In the end, the Umno would not get the much wanted 2/3rd majority it is desperately trying to get by wooing the PAS within the BN.
However, Prime Minister Najib has also made it clear in Thailand. He said his party appreciate those who see Umno as representing the Malays and having done many things for the community. This is a clear statement to the pro-Umno PAS members to pack their stuffs and to move in.
Najib said that one group in PAS rejected any form of cooperation with Umno although it was for the interest of Malay and Muslim unity.
He said that another group of leaders, who was willing to find ways to enhance unity among the ummah, was more inclined towards cooperating with Umno. "What types of cooperation is not defined but they don't want to see disunity," he said.
Asked whether Umno would discuss with PAS, Najib said it would be difficult to do so as long as there was no consensus in the party. "Let's wait and see the development in PAS," he said, adding that any discussion would not be fruitful if it only involved certain leaders and not the party as a whole