By: Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker
PAS is a well-organised, well-oiled, dynamic and versatile political party today. Gone were the days when PAS was a backwater party confined to the East Coast or Malay hinterlands of Kelantan, Terengganu and the northern states of Kedah.
In other words, we can now say PAS has come of age. They are already the biggest party with the biggest number of MPs in the Malaysia today.
On Sept 26, the Terengganu Election Court annulled the results of the Kemaman parliamentary seat in the 2022 general election.
This may initially be perceived as a moral victory for the PH-BN (Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional) unity government but PAS quickly turned the table around by naming their vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar or more popularly known as Dr Sam who is also the Terengganu Menteri Besar (MB) as their candidate in Kemaman.
The rise of Dr Sam
The Kemaman by-election has allowed PAS to propel Dr Sam into Parliament as evident by the party’s landslide victory yesterday (Dec 2) against BN thus making a loud and thunderous statement that we have a Prime Minister candidate in PAS.
In other words, PAS no longer wants to be the backroom boy and is not shy about making the political statement that they are now claiming the “political throne” and a face.
The recognition of Dr Sam as a potential prime minister was quickly acknowledged. By a stroke, PAS had triumphantly displayed their ability to change and dictate an event and future political developments.
At a time when UMNO, PKR and Bersatu were having their own internal problems, PAS emerged victorious over all these dominant political parties by having an undisputed face for the Prime Minister’s (PM) post.
Dr Sam has a political pedigree that is no less than any other political gentry in UMNO, Bersatu or PKR.
Academically, he was a lecturer and an aerospace engineer. This is a technocrat who has led Terengganu PAS to a 100% victory in the Aug 12 state election. As a MB who has ruled Terengganu since 2018, he has never created any bewilderment, fear, phobia or disapproval from the non-Malays. In fact, he is seen more as a technocrat, a scientist and a progressive.
The ‘tame’ factor
So, is PAS of the past making a comeback? There was no fear factor or issue with PAS when they were partners with DAP in the state government from 2008 to 2018. There was no issue with PAS when they were with BN in the federal government from 1972 to 1977.
PAS when in or is part of the BN or Perikatan Nasional (PN) government was as tame as DAP in 2018 when DAP was part of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s government. Under Anthony Loke Siew Fook, DAP as the biggest party in the present government is equally or tamer now.
You don’t see them talk about the “rule of law” anymore when minority rights are trampled. To put it simply, they don’t even squeak when in pain.
A revisit to 1982 will show that it was DAP and Semangat 46 that helped PAS wrest power from UMNO. Upon coming into power, the PAS cleric-led party introduced the first hudud law in Malaysia. DAP had again worked with PAS in 1999 under the Barisan Alternatif coalition which incorporated the newly formed party Keadilan.
Advice to Chinese
Thereafter, there were a series of PAS and DAP cooperation, and of late, DAP’s Lao Da (or elder) Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang has even said that DAP is prepared to work with PAS again.
This resonates with DAP repeatedly saying that they are prepared to work with UMNO prior to the 15th General Election (GE15). Post-GE15, DAP’s ‘marriage’ to UMNO became official and the honeymoon has since bear fruit.
My conclusion is that DAP will work with PAS and recognise Dr Sam as the nation’s PM post-PRU16 if the need arises. What’s so funny? DAP had in 2008 supported Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to be the 10th Perak MB.
When the time comes for DAP to support Dr Sam as PM 11, DAP will have a ready narrative and justification with their supporters wholeheartedly swallowing them.
In the meantime, my advice to non-Muslims and especially the Chinese is not to be combative or confrontational towards everything that is PAS.
If we buy in the “incendiary rhetorics” of DAP to be confrontational to everything or everyone in PAS like what DAP did in the past under the ABU or Asalkan Bukan UMNO campaign, what if post GE16 DAP embraced and married into PAS because the groom is Dr Sam?
What is our “Plan B” or do we continue to smack our face or bian lian again? Indeed, DAP had mastered the Chinese dramatic art of bian lian. They give the term “two-faced” a whole new meaning of altruism or for the good of all.
In the meantime, brace ourselves for the first PAS PM in Malaysia. – Dec 3, 2023
Senator Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker was MCA’s former vice president from November 2018 to September 2023.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.