PAS’ ultimate aim is not winning seats, says think-tank head

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SHAH ALAM: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has urged the public not to look at PAS with the same lens as they do other political parties.

Its chief executive, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who is also a PAS member, said that unlike other political parties, PAS’ ultimate aim was not winning seats.

“From the beginning, PAS has said that what is important to it is to spread its understanding of Islam.

“Politics is merely one of the tools to achieve that end,” he said at a forum on Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) at Kumpulan Media Karangkraf here today.

“Now, PAS has taken the position that it will contest and whether it wins or loses any of the seats it contests is not its concern.

“To PAS, there is a ‘higher goal’ and contesting is only another form of preaching.”

Recently, Utusan Malaysia Online quoted PAS vice-president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah as saying PAS was determined to contest in all  seats held by the opposition front in the 14th general election (GE14) regardless of whether it won or lost.

Wan Saiful said the reason this strategy worked against PH and BN, was because PAS was positioning itself as a third wheel.

“Like it or not, realistically, a straight fight is important for PH and in order for that to happen, PAS will either have to be invited to BN or PH.

“In a three-cornered fight, BN will still come out the victor.”

He claimed this was what BN and specifically Umno had in mind all along – for PAS to remain a third wheel in order to hamper PH’s chances of winning seats in the general election.

“BN’s strategy when it comes to PAS is very clever. They know that as long as PAS is not with PH, it will be hard for PH to win.

“BN doesn’t even need to get PAS to join forces with Umno.

“All it has to do is ensure that PAS remains a third wheel, and that’s exactly what it is doing.”

Wan Saiful said Muslims who feel it is “unIslamic” for PAS to act as a third wheel as it was preventing straight fights were those who already saw BN as the devil.

“But that’s very superficial. BN is not the devil and PH is not made up of angels. If you ask both coalitions what their policies are, then you will find good and bad on both sides.”

When asked whether PAS would decide to stand with either BN or PH just before GE14, Wan Saiful said that was a possibility.

“Politically-rational people in PAS will tell the party to join either side but so far, I don’t see any sign of that happening.”