The Bersatu-PAS ‘marriage’: An ill-fated matrimony that does nobody any good

THE winds of change that blew across the country in the aftermath of the 15th General Election (GE15) can be said to have blown away all hopes of seeing racial harmony and religious tolerance taking firm root in a multiracial society.

What has emerged is a coalition of two major forces that are united in their political cause and political creed that might not be healthy for the country.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) which was given a slim chance of advancing to the forefront of national politics, staged a stunning comeback to overtake the Barisan Nasional (BN) to become the new powerhouse in Malaysian political history.

But behind this tale of the rise of a new dawn for Malaysia is the frightening awareness that the leaders of the two parties – Bersatu and PAS – are not the type you would want to entrust your future.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Bersatu president who sees Jews behind every tree, is no strong advocate of a pluralistic society because he once said he is Malay first and Malaysian second.

Tan Sri Hadi Awang, the PAS president who sees communists under every bed, is overtly antagonistic towards other races and is hell-bent on establishing a state based largely on divine rules.

With these two leaders now in the ascendancy, they could pose big problem to all the cherished values that have sustained collective harmony for so long.

Muhyiddin and Hadi Awang (Photo credit:

As PN chairman, Muhyiddin will be formulating policies and strategies that would have to be deliberately angled and slanted to please PAS because the latter had unleashed a “green wave” that had chalked up impressive victories at state and federal level.

Hadi will use his electoral gains as a bargaining tool to entrench his position when it comes to making deals on how to administer the country.

For sure, he will pursue his agenda uncompromisingly and Muhyiddin will gleefully dance to Hadi’s tune.

Muhyiddin and Hadi can ignore the voices of the multi-ethnic groups because their political triumph rests largely on the votes of the dominant race.

Now, the path is cleared for the duo to act in concert to push their narrow, race-based vision without fearing any backlash. They may not be the government but they can push their weight around.

So if Hadi coughs, it is a signal that he is unhappy with the practices of the “infidels” and Muhyiddin will no doubt denounce such unhealthy cultural behaviour.

If Hadi frowns, it indicates that he disapproves of secular tendencies and Muhyiddin would do well to lend support to any campaign to eradicate such unpleasant influence.

And if Muhyiddin laughs, it shows that he and Hadi are birds of the same feather who could make the lives of other ethnic groups difficult.

PN, especially PAS, may rule the waves but it is not easy to paint all the country green because as long as people of other faiths exist, co-existence is a stronger force for good than discord caused by politicians who only believe in the supremacy of one race, one religion.


Philip Rodrigues is a former journalist.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: FMT

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