The fallout from Umno’s recent decision to ditch ruling pact partner Bersatu soon after the emergency rule is lifted and to force Pas to choose either one as a life companion takes on predictable and strange, if not amusing, forms.
There were immediate challenges and a counter-challenge. Bersatu, particularly its supreme council member Rosol Wahid, challenged Umno ministers to quit the Perikatan Nasional government pronto.
This was in response to Umno saying its ministers would vacate their posts once the general election was called so as to ensure that the governing of the country would not be rudely disrupted at the expense of the people.
Such a reason makes you wonder why it was not thought of before the so-called “Sheraton Move” was launched last year. The bloodless coup couldn’t have come at a worse time, especially when Pakatan Harapan rule was in its midstream and the coronavirus was making its initial appearance.
There were, however, dissenting voices within Umno. Kelantan Umno Youth delegate at the youth wing’s general assembly recently, Wan Mohamed Rasman Hassan, for example, challenged party leaders who hold positions in the cabinet and government-linked companies to quit immediately like “jantan” (men).
Anyway, certain ministries held by Umno politicians might as well be left in the hands of capable and experienced civil servants, as most of the time these ministries appear to run on autopilot.
In the meantime, Pas, which initially wanted to play a role of bridge-builder between the two warring parties, has now decided that the way forward for its own survival is to partner with Bersatu. Never mind if this action might be construed by some as disuniting the ummah, as reasoned by Pas before.
The drubbing that its president Hadi Awang got from his Umno counterpart at the Umno general assembly might have played a part in the party’s latest realignment. After all, this resulted in Hadi having to make a great escape from the Putra World Trade Centre to avoid stumbling upon curious journalists.
Later, Hadi posted a Facebook reminder, in an indirect reference to what Umno president Zahid Hamidi said of him and his Islamist party: let’s not be rude to our friends.
Pas secretary general Takiyuddin Hassan, however, had a romantic take on the strained relationships, saying Umno “should not lose one who truly loves you”.
Such an endearing thought for a love that is now lost.
Cynics call the earlier strategy of the Islamist party as one of living in two ponds. Or to use Islamic parlance, to lead a polygamous life – which Pas might have found eventually to be too strenuous.
To be sure, Pas needs a partner as it doesn’t have the political pizzaz to remain in power at the federal level on its own.
Like any other secular parties, the Islamist party has tasted power, which it finds to be seductive as well as addictive. Leaving the seat of power can be heartbreaking, even for those who remind ordinary mortals to always think of the afterlife.
The political fallout also makes political partners sound stranger than fiction. A small, almost inconsequential member of the rump Barisan Nasional coalition, the MIC, has oddly flaunted its deviant side after plucking up its scrotal gumption recently.
MIC vice-president C Sivarraajh valiantly scolded Umno for its arrogance and for not treating his party and others in the coalition as equals. He was responding to a response to a suggestion from Sungai Siput Puteri Umno chief Norazura Abdul Karim that MIC let Umno contest in Sungai Siput, a traditional seat of the MIC.
Sivarraajh also raised a relevant question: who would the prime ministerial candidate be should Barisan Nasional win the general election. In emphasising the importance of mutual respect, he cautioned Umno to consult its BN partners before deciding on the candidate.
The MIC also reminded Umno of the importance of consulting the BN’s current partners if there was a need to add new partners to the coalition after the general election.
It is the kind of bravado that makes you wonder whether the MIC is now nursing the adage that the grass is greener on the other side.
Or, if we may have a guess here, perhaps the MIC might have felt left out of the then three-way relationship, even though it has always proven to be a faithful partner even in an unstable love affair.
Parting in politics as well as in love is not meant for the faint-hearted. – The Malaysian Insight