PAS’ simmering discontent over an increase in the number of 4D special draws could be a harbinger of problems within the ruling administration and could well bring friction within the party itself, according to analysts.
It was recently revealed in the Dewan Rakyat that gaming companies had been given permission to hold 22 of these draws on top of the thrice-weekly draws, much to the dismay of PAS leaders like Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari and the party’s Perak commissioner, Razman Zakaria.
When Pakatan Harapan was in power, the number of special draws was reduced to eight a year, but this was quietly increased back to 22 after the coalition was ousted from power.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs told FMT that even with the government’s memorandum of understanding with the opposition, PAS could still use this as a “trump card” to cancel its allegiance with Umno.
“If Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is unable to please PAS, which has already looked at times to be on the verge of breaking away, it could go on its own and put an end to Muafakat Nasional,” he said.
“This is a problem because if PAS were to put out candidates in the same Malay majority constituencies as Umno in the next general election, we could see a repeat of what happened in 2018 where they split the vote and Pakatan Harapan candidates were able to squeeze between them.”
Oh said the increase in draws could be an example of Ismail’s attempt to “please a lot of different people and factions at once”. It could be a ploy to appease non-Malay voters at the expense of PAS supporters, he said.
“But, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid of Universiti Sains Malaysia said it appeared as if there was tension between PAS’ “idealist backbenchers” who oppose the increase in draws and “realistic Cabinet members” who understand the need for cooperation within the government.
“Frictions could develop, just as they did in 2015 between the ulama and professional factions that gave birth to Amanah,” he said.
“To prevent the repeat of history, I think it’s vital for the party’s strategists to devise an internal blueprint which outlines the terms, principles and conditions for participation in a government that may not share the same religious ideology.”
Source : FMT