PETALING JAYA: Although Pakatan Harapan (PH) has decided against cooperating with PAS in the 14th general election (GE14), one of its newest vice-presidents says some individuals in the coalition have spoken to him of their support for the continuation of talks with PAS.
M Kulasegaran, who was appointed PH vice-president last week, told FMT, “Anything is workable and I’m confident that, at the end of the day, some arrangement will come about between PH and PAS and perhaps other parties too.”
“If there are three-cornered or four-cornered fights, Malaysians will be let down and the parties themselves will suffer. Many politicians will have to go into hibernation for five years. Sometimes, this hibernation can be perpetual.”
However, he acknowledged that any discussion with the Islamist party could take place only if the PH leadership council approved it.
Activist lawyer S Ambiga last week advised PH to continue talks with PAS to minimise the possibility of three-cornered fights in GE14.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua agreed with her, saying it had always been his party’s stand to have PAS on PH’s side.
Tian told FMT cooperation between the two sides didn’t have to be in the form of a formal political coalition. “But we should not rule out the possibility of an arrangement in terms of seats,” he said.
“We don’t have to be friends, but we don’t have to kill each other.”
However, PH vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said PAS did not appear keen on any arrangement with the coalition.
“PH has tried its best, from day one, to bring PAS on board the coalition,” he told FMT, pointing to a series of meetings and negotiations last year.
“But PAS has always refused. It has closed its door to any suggestion of our working together to avoid three-cornered fights.
“We’ve already done our part and we can’t wait any longer.”
PPBM supreme council member Rais Hussin agreed with Salahuddin, saying avoiding three-cornered fights might not even be as important as some might think.
He said three-cornered fights could in fact benefit PH in instances where it’s the Malay votes that would be split.
“We need to move away from the ‘if there are three-cornered fights, we are dead’ mindset,” he said. “We need to embrace the challenge and embark on strategic intervening actions to mitigate the challenge.
“PH must speak directly to the PAS grassroots, who are by and large against any form of unholy alliance with Umno, given the acrimonious decades of enmity, to the extent of even calling Umno members infidels.”
He said the “strategic intervening actions” should include addressing issues of concern to the public, especially rural folk and Felda settlers.