Malaysia has no more tools left to tackle financial crisis, says economist …..Consumption-based Growth..typical Najibnomics..then..Debt?
Published: 15 May 2015 7:00 AM
Datuk Dr Mohamed Ariff, an economist at the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, says because of political expediency, Malaysia deferred balancing the federal budget. –
Malaysia does not have the option of using a fiscal instrument to face any future financial crisis, mainly due to its high debt and continuous budget deficit, an economics professor said.
Datuk Dr Mohamed Ariff, from the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (ICEIF), said that Malaysia has “no ammunition” in the fiscal front if the country was hit by a crisis.
This is due to the continuous budget deficit for the past 17 years, which has resulted in federal debt lingering close to the self-imposed ceiling of 55%.
At the end of 2014, total federal debt both domestic and offshore amounted to RM582.8 billion or 54.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), according to a statement by the Finance Ministry in March.
It also said that Putrajaya remained committed to ensuring that the federal government debt levels did not exceed 55% of GDP.
“Some will argue that if we included contingent liabilities, our debt would have passed that ceiling by now,” Ariff said during the launch of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UNESCAP) survey on the region in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“We have very little room to manoeuvre in our fiscal instrument.”
Ariff also said that Malaysia would have been on a different “trajectory” altogether if it had kept to its reform agenda after the 1998 and 2008 financial crises.
“If Malaysia had kept to its reform agenda, post-crisis, we would have been in a different trajectory.
“But due to certain political expediency, that was put into the backburner,” he added.
Ariff did not elaborate at the forum on what post-crisis reforms would have entailed.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia aimed to achieve a balanced budget by 2020.
Ariff said Malaysia was supposed to have a balanced budget by 2005, and that was then pushed to 2007.
“But after the financial crisis, that was put off until 2020.” – May 15, 2015.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-has-no-more-tools-left-to-tackle-financial-crisis-says-economist#sthash.xMGKNz1v.dpuf
Published: 14 May 2015 7:00 AM
PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad asks why was prime land earmarked for Bumiputera sold to 1MDB for a song. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 14, 2015.PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad asks why was prime land earmarked for Bumiputera sold to 1MDB for a song. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 14, 2015.With the controversy over the sale of 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) land in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) financial district to Lembaga Tabung Haji still raging, a PAS leader has upped the ante by asking who made the decision to sell the land, originally earmarked for Bumiputera, to the state investment vehicle.
PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad also asked what was the original price of the land in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, which was previously owned by Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad (PHBB).
The land along Jalan Tun Razak was earmarked for Bumiputeras to increase their property ownership during the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“Who was the one who directed and ensured the agenda to sell PHBB trophy asset to 1MDB?” asked the former Kuala Selangor federal lawmaker in an interview with The Malaysian Insider.
“It was said the land was allocated to PHBB during Tun Abdullah’s era with the aim of developing it so that Bumiputeras still have an opportunity to invest in prime real estate by way of shares, investments and shariah-compliant Real Estate Investment Trust,” he said.
It was reported that 1MDB only paid RM64 psf when it bought the 30ha from Putrajaya four years ago.
Dzulkefly also asked what other compensation or lands Putrajaya gave to PHBB in return for selling its land to 1MDB.
Published: 14 May 2015 6:59 AM
Kini timbul persoalan siapakah bertanggungjawab menjual tanah di Tun Razak Exchange yang diperuntukkan kepada Bumiputera kepada 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 14 Mei, 2015.
Belum pun reda kontroversi penjualan tanah Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) milik 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) kepada Lembaga Tabung Haji dengan harga tinggi, seorang pemimpin PAS mempersoalkan siapakah bertanggungjawab menjual tanah yang sudah diperuntukkan kepada Bumiputera pada zaman pentadbiran Tun Abdullah Badawi itu.
Ahli Jawatankuasa (AJK) PAS Pusat, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (gambar, kanan) turut membangkitkan harga sebenar tanah TRX di Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, yang sebelum ini dimiliki Pelaburan Hartanah Berhad, PHBB (dahulu dikenali Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera Berhad).
“Mengapa dan siapa yang ‘mengarah’ dan ‘memastikan’ agenda menjual ‘trophy asset’ milik PHBB seperti ini, dijual juga akhirnya kepada 1MDB?” soal bekas ahli Parlimen Kuala Selangor itu dalam wawancara bersama The Malaysian Insider.
“Dikatakan tanah yang diperuntukkan kepada PHBB itu berlaku pada era Tun Abdullah Badawi dengan tujuan untuk membangunkan tanah tersebut, supaya daripada segi agihan kekayaan negara, masih ada lagi ruang dan peluang Bumiputera memiliki saham dalam hartanah yang ‘prime’ seperti bakal diterbitkan PHBB dalam pelaburan dan saham dan portfolio seperti REIT atau Real Estate Investment Trust yang komplian-syariah.”
– 1 May 2015Posted in: Malaysia
As Malaysians rally in protest in Kuala Lumpur, it is clear that the April 1st introduction of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) has changed Malaysia’s political landscape. In the last few months the Najib administration has significantly redefined the rights of citizens, reducing freedoms while simultaneously adding to their responsibilities. Valuable analyses have focused on the worrying changes in the rule of law, particularly the political use and legal expansion of sedition and the negative implications of potentially introducing hudud, but less attention has centered on the measure that arguably directly affects more people, the GST. This tax is highly contested and has the potential to serve as a catalyst for further conflict in Malaysia’s already increasingly fractious polity. For Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the GST has emerged as his policy Achilles Heel that has the potential to undermine his leadership.
There are three interrelated issues that underscore why the GST is so divisive and damaging. This first of which is the polarizing views of the tax itself. Based on the results of Asia Barometer Survey late last year (detailed below), Malaysians were evenly divided over the GST even before it was implemented, with the majority opposed to the measure. Ethnic groups were similarly divided. Majorities in all ethnic groups opposed the GST, with more Chinese Malaysians opposed compared to other communities. The divide that stands out however is partisanship, with BN and opposition supporters strongly in favor and opposed respectively. This indicates that the GST is highly polarizing, reflecting Malaysia’s deep political divisions. In fact, the views are so strong that 5.9% of Malaysians feel that the GST is among the most important problems facing the country.
|Favor GST (%)||Oppose GST (%)||Decline Answer/Don’t Know|
Source: Asia Barometer Survey, Malaysia Third Wave
The interpretations of the GST have been politicized in other ways as well, with racial politics at play. For some Chinese, the GST is portrayed as Malays finally paying their dues. For some Malays, the GST has been painted as getting at Chinese who have purportedly evaded taxes. These misperceptions have been fed by years of negative stereotyping. The racial mobilization around GST has gone further, with the government attempting to deflect the blame for the policy on others. Within UMNO, there has been a campaign on the ground, especially in the heartland, to lay the blame of the GST on the supposed ‘exploitation’ of the Chinese middlemen and traders. All of these lens reflect the ethnic fragmentation of Malaysia, point to the continued attempts to divide Malaysians along racial lines, and to blame other communities rather than the government for policies. They also reflect the persistence of the mobilization of race for political ends.
If the racial dimensions of the GST were not enough, there has been a religious heuristic as well. The GST has been labeled ‘haram’ and officially in a fatwa as ‘halal’. Some religious figures have gone as far to call for Muslims who already receive considerable tax benefits by being able to write off their zakat contributions on their taxes (often well beyond the legal 2%) while other faiths lack this right, to excuse Muslims from paying the GST. This development reveals not only how much religion has become part of Malaysia’s political fabric, but shows that some Malaysians Muslims do not believe they have a responsibility to the nation as a whole. The religious divide is even more cutting, in that it is cloaked in a false sense of ‘morality’ that has lost any real sense of justice and community.
As the tax has come into effect in the last month, the interpretation that has resonated the most is that the Najib government is taking from the people. With views extending from ‘robbery’ to grudged acceptance, the public is now aware of taxation more than ever before and sentiment is overwhelmingly negative. This ‘forced marriage’ (to coin the label of the GST given by UMNO veteran leader Mohd Ali Rustam) has led to greater reflection of what is being paid and what is being delivered by government, with the dominant view that the government is falling short in delivery and even ‘uncaring’. Najib’s close association with the GST has led to him receiving the bulk of the blame and reevaluation of governance, with views of his leadership becoming increasingly antagonistic. The premier now has the lowest popularity rating of any of his predecessors, to the extent that his presence has been intentionally minimized in the country’s ongoing by-elections.
Burden Transfers: Tax Incidence
The divisive perceptions of the GST are enhanced by debate over who pays taxes generally and who will bear the burden of the GST. Any reliable analysis of tax incidence requires detailed household information and greater transparency in data than currently is available in the public domain. Twenty years ago there were regular published works on tax incidence by class and race in Malaysia, but today these are in short supply, and estimates have to be made with what little information is available.
Malaysia stands out in the region for its relatively low payment of direct taxes. According to published figures by the Department of Statistics in 2013, less than three million taxpayers paid income tax, or roughly 22% of the labor force. A higher percentage of corporations pay, especially local businesses that do not have the lucrative benefits of the tax incentives and foreign multi-nationals who adeptly use loopholes to avoid tax. In 2013, 261,000 businesses paid taxes, roughly 25% of registered companies. The amounts paid reach a share of GDP in line with rates in OECD countries, but the actual number of payees of both individuals and companies is comparatively low. This is compounded by the fact that there is considerable tax evasion. Despite the vigilant efforts of Malaysia’s Inland Revenue, there remains serious gaps in collection, as there is systemic underreporting, and capital flight. Nevertheless, direct taxes comprise nearly 80% of national tax revenue. Proponents of the GST have argued that indirect taxation is needed to address the shortcomings in direct taxation. This has underscored the rally toward the most popular form of indirect taxation, the GST.
Indirect taxes have long been an integral part of Malaysia’s tax regime, from ‘sin’ taxes on liquor, and cigarettes inherited from the colonial era to the sales and service taxes introduced in the 1970s. Before April, the sales and services taxes have been limited in scope, concentrated on particular goods such as imported cars and a narrow range of services. The introduction of the GST significantly widened the scope of items subjected to the 6% GST tax. Now indirect taxes affect everyone, assuring that the 78% of individuals and 75% of companies not taxed directly are now contributing to government coffers. Premier Najib has already tweeted that there will be estimated 35% increase in the revenue collected from indirect taxes, to reach RM47.7 billion this year.
The widening of who pays indirect taxes has sparked public debate. The focus has been the impact on those with lower incomes, as a majority of Malaysians earn incomes of less the RM4,000 monthly. Competing studies by the government and DAP-government’s Penang Institute last year argued over the monthly costs imposed on those most economically vulnerable. They differed in the amounts (and their studies are now irrelevant as the list of exemptions/zero rated items has changed), but both agreed that those with lower incomes would now be part of the country’s tax base.
The GST is a regressive tax, and although there are exemptions and zero-rated items, there is no getting away from a higher tax burden in everyday life. Malaysians have experienced this over the last month. A 6% increase in costs has already brought an additional tax burden on ordinary citizens, even with the exemptions. With Malaysia’s household debt at over 80%, one of the highest in the world, this burden has been especially hard for those living on the financial edge. The long-term ramifications remain unknown. These added financial pressures from the GST on the majority of Malaysians have the potential to contribute to rising indebtedness and strains on families to increases in crime and add to the tensions in society as a whole. Independent studies are needed to measure the socioeconomic effects.
The widening of Malaysia’s tax burden has nevertheless resonated politically in a short time. This tax has especially hit UMNO’s political base. Disproportionately the incumbent government receives its political support from the lower classes, many of whom have not paid taxes in this level before, or ever. Many of those in favor of the GST initially are no longer as positive. The GST is thus not only a seismic shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and its citizens, it has become a major shift in the dynamic between UMNO and its supporters. This is one of the reasons why veteran UMNO politicians – including former premier Mahathir Mohamad – are openly calling for the GST not to be implemented. They are worried about the potential losses for UMNO from GST under Najib’s leadership. As the fuel subsidies did for his predecessor Abdullah Badawi, the GST serves as a rallying cry against Najib within his own ranks.
To understand Najib’s GST initiative one has to step back and look at his economic management and outlook. Najib has depended heavily on foreign advisors in shaping his economic policy, and appears to follow their ideological lens. The Najib administration has worked hard to conform to external orthodox expectations, with the hope that this will attract capital and strengthen Najib himself. Following the right–wing Margaret Thatcher who nearly doubled England’s VAT from 8 to 15%, Najib believes that the GST as a needed measure to assure that those with capital can drive the economy. He argues that the GST will increase GDP growth, although the more common pattern is an initial slowdown in an economy. He has indicated that the GST will rise to 10% in the coming years. He has coupled the introduction of the GST with a promised reduction in the corporate tax rate next year – fitting this neo-conservative policy paradigm.
This Thatcherite view of economic growth is not going down well at home. Najib is increasingly perceived taking from everyone but giving breaks to a few. This perception reinforces the perception that his government is for the rich, not the struggling middle and lower classes. This image is enhanced by the reported wealthy lavish lifestyle of Najib and his immediate family. As Mahathir’s nationalist campaign against the premier has gained traction, Najib has been quietly portrayed as appeasing foreigners at the expense of Malaysians.
One irony of the GST is that it is being introduced at one of the weakest points in Najib’s tenure. His leadership is currently tainted with arguably the worst and most expensive corruption scandals in the country’s history, with a number of these (notably 1MDB) negatively affecting the country’s financial credibility and revenue position. Concerns have also been raised about public debt. His premiership has spent (and borrowed) the most money to shore up his political support, reflecting his insecurity as a leader. There is a genuine need for more money in government coffers, but public confidence in how it will be spent is low. There is even lower confidence in Najib’s leadership over the spending. Najib’s efforts to win foreign investor support by introducing the GST is not gaining the ground he expected.
Questions of Competency: Flawed Implementation
Despite the political criticism surrounding the GST, there are strong supporters of the measure, who see the tax as part of the modernisation of Malaysia’s taxation system and place less emphasis on the transfer of the tax burden. They see this as a needed and justified reform. They argue correctly that good implementation of a GST can indeed ameliorate the most serious socio-economic effects of a GST, especially if these measures are coupled with other policies that widen the social safety net. Yet, this is not what has happened to date under Najib’s administration of the measure. In fact, as noted by UMNO veteran politician and former trade minister Rafidah Abdul Aziz, the problems in GST implementation are serious. This is arguably the most damaging for Najib, as he is the minister in charge of finance.
The administration was given eighteen months to prepare for GST. Every country that implements the tax has teething problems, but Malaysia’s problems go beyond the norm. Almost one month after the GST was introduced, Malaysians still do not fully know what is or isn’t taxable. As the parody Cantonese song by Eugene Chung reveals, confusion reigns. A proper list of zero-rated and exempt items was not circulated before implementation and even now (one month later) there are contradictory reports. Inadequate preparation was spent on educating the public and communicating the tax to the public. The public relations campaign concentrated on shoring up support for the tax itself, in a RM2 million cartoon campaign, rather than engaging businesses and citizens on the fundamentals of the GST.
The citizen education effort was hampered by delays in settling the list of items, which were being negotiated and changed in the days prior to the GST introduction. These negotiations, behind closed doors and without public accountability, have contributed to Malaysia’s list of zero-rated and exempt items not conforming to international standards, a dimension that has added to the confusion over the GST itself. Questions are also being raised about who was able to secure exemption and why, given the anomalies. The persistent debate among ministers in the government itself over who has to pay what, in areas such as phone charges, highlights the unresolved mechanics of the GST.
The public was not properly brought into the GST implementation. The lack of adequate public consultation on the GST is evident with the confusion over the ‘service charge,’ a measure that companies have used to provide compensation for workers but has been interpreted as ‘services.’ Debates have addressed whether the service charge should be subject to the 6% GST. The problem is not just about the service charge itself but the way in which many companies pay their employees, as they have used the ‘service charge’ to keep wages low. The public (including businesses) is confused on what is to be paid and why.
This is compounded by a lack of understanding in some of the administrative departments themselves. When citizens and businesses call the Custom’s Department’s hotline for answers, they are not getting the answers they need. There is often general knowledge on the line, but there are difficulties in getting answers to technical questions, especially from Malaysians who do not speak Malay. The training and preparation to handle the public enquiries could have been improved, as this has contributed to frustrations. Questions are being rightly asked whether the Customs Department is the right collecting body, or whether the collection might have been better served by coming under Inland Revenue.
Legitimate concerns also have been raised about implementing GST at this point of time, when the region’s economy and Malaysia’s economy have been slowing down. Similar issues have been raised about coinciding the GST with rises in transportation costs. The government’s introduction of the policy did not coincide with any meaningful measures of offset the burdens on citizens. This timing of the policy introduction appears not to have been assessed holistically.
The flawed implementation has raised fundamental questions of preparedness. Najib has claimed that studies were done to assess the GST. These studies have not been properly shared with the public, or debated in parliament. One alleged study is based on year 2000 numbers, using fifteen-year old projections to analyze the impact of the GST. It is little wonder there are comprehension challenges. There appears to be a deficit in studies looking at important questions associated with the GST – the impact on small businesses, the impact on growth in the economy, the disparate effects on different communities, including women and East Malaysians, the relationship with other policies such as the fuel subsidy removal and distribution of BR1M payments. Importantly, there has been no connection of the GST with the social safety net or public discussion of the transfer of the tax burden on citizens.
To make matters worse, the implementation focus has been on punishment of those who do not conform to the GST. Rather than spend more funds on public education, allocations have been primarily allocated to enforcers, with fines already imposed on confused businesses. The structure put in place for payments for Malaysia’s GST is extremely burdensome, requiring payments twelve times a year rather than the international norm of quarterly. The penalties are harsh at RM100,000, including multiple high fines for each payment period and jail time. Practically, these many points of engagement with enforcement increase the potential for corruption and avoidance rather than encourage revenue generation and public cooperation.
Poor implementation of the GST already accounts for the negative effects on small businesses, with sundry shops, traditional retailers and small hawkers closing down. The media is full of stories of closures, with the overall numbers increasing as the October business compliance date arrives. Most of these closures are the product of poor communication about the GST itself. This dynamic has hurt local communities, who now have to rely on more impersonal outlets for their medicines and provisions rather than their neighbors.
From communication and consultation to preparedness and timing, Najib’s poor record in implementation has enhanced frustrations. Of all the issues of ineffective implementation, the one that is affecting Malaysians the most is the use of the GST to increase prices. While Asia as a whole experiences deflation, Malaysians are now facing the worst level of inflation in over three decades with unofficial estimates reaching as high as 20%. The inflation rate is a highly contested number in Malaysia as a result of how it is calculated, with many of the exempt and zero-rated items included, but the number that matters most is ordinary perceptions. This are sadly high. There are major discrepancies in the prices charged post-GST well beyond the GST levels. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (FOMCA) has highlighted this regularly in reports, stating that this is ‘unacceptable’. From the fees of foreign workers to send remittances moving from RM8 to RM11 ‘due to GST’ to the sticker shock on groceries and food, often coupled the smaller portions, individuals and businesses alike are struggling to deal with this more expensive reality. Some of the price increases are due to higher inputs and relatively low profit margins, but there are many incidents of companies taking advantage of the GST to increase profits without effective oversight by the government. The Najib government is ultimately being held responsible. The GST has translated in a loss of support for Najib on multiple fronts.
Each bill, each charge, each fee all at 6% or above are reminding Malaysians of their contributions as citizens and putting Najib into the spotlight. Views of government and governance and questions of rights and responsibilities and are changing. Increasing taxes in Malaysia historically served to provoke rebellion in 1895 in Pahang, 1915 in Kelantan, 1929 in Terengganu and more.
Time will tell whether Najib’s GST will have a similar response, but the reality is that one month after the GST implementation the grumbling has gotten louder, protests over taxation and governance have started, and the GST has become the main policy issue of Najib’s tenure. In contrast to the flexibility and increased opportunities the introduction of indirect taxes usually provide for leaders globally, the GST has become a problem for Najib and this problem is only likely to intensify as the politics surrounding the measure grow more contentious.
Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate of the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University where she conducts research on democracy and politics in Southeast Asia.
Meneruskan daripada “PAS mengundang kegagalannya sekali lagi?” terbitan TMI dan “Agenda Selamatkan PAS?” dalam Harakah print terkini, penulis menyambung perkongsian idenya di sini.
Sebagai sebuah gerakan Islam yang memilih jalan “Muwajahah Silmiyah” atau “persaingan aman” secara demokrasi, PAS sangat berhajatkan kemenangan.
Benar seperti ada yang mendakwa “kemenangan bukan segala-galanya”. Namun, tidak siapa pun dapat menyangkal “segala-galanya menantikan kemenangan untuk PAS mampu melaksana cita-cita murni perjuangannya”.
Justeru, PAS sentiasa menghitung sokongan dan prestasinya dalam setiap pilihan raya. Keputusan dalam pilihan raya ditanggapi sebagai kayu ukur menilai penerimaan dakwahnya dan tawaran dasar-dasar siasah atau politiknya. Kemenangan terus mengizinkan PAS menggapai visi pembangunannya untuk rakyat dan negara.
Ruang amal bukan sahaja terhad kepada mereka yang bergelar Yang Berhormat, exco atau menteri besar bahkan kepada semua pimpinan akar-umbi dalam pengelolaan PBT, JKKK, masjid dan surau.
Begitulah “habuan” kemenangan buat mereka yang benar-benar menghayati perjuangan ini yang sentiasa berlumba-lumba mencari reda Allah.
Dalam penulisan lalu, ditegaskan, andainya kepimpinan gagal memastikan PAS terus dikemudikan dengan baik dan bijak, maka PAS bakal kembali ke tahap prestasi lamanya, pada paras atau “baseline” Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) ke-11 (2004). Ia tidak perlu diulang sebut di sini tetapi itulah contoh kekalahan dalam sejarah PAS terdekat. Namun dalam kalah atau menang redha AlLah tetap menjadi buruan. Tidak ada yang seharusnya keliru akan hakikat itu.
Pun begitu, sayugia diakui dinamik luaran dan dalaman parti kini sangat berbeza dan lebih kompleks. Ia tidak semudah untuk diurus dan ditangani. Kini wujud pola-pola permasalahan yang mencabar kesinambungan pencapaian parti.
Kepimpinan parti yang tidak punyai kebijaksanaan dan keterampilan pengurusan strategik bakal mengundang pelbagai polemik dan konflik sama ada dalaman partinya sendiri mahupun bersama rakan koalisinya.
Kepimpinan akar umbi yang tidak mengikuti kemajuan dan peredaran parti juga akan menyukarkan kepimpinan tertinggi.
Maka, apakah yang sedang mengancam PAS dan bakal menghampakan cita-cita yang disasarkan dalam perjuangannya dalam jangka waktu terdekat ini?
“Inappropriate and unbecoming for Permatang Pauh PAS to pose this issue as an ultimatum to secure their support for the by-election”
I have full confidence that PAS will not let us down, says Tian Chua
Dismissing it as mere “media speculation”, PKR vice-president Tian Chua today said that the statement made by Permatang Pauh PAS chairman Omar Hassan earlier was “made up by the media”.
Tian Chua said this when contacted by The Rakyat Post asking him to comment on Omar’s statement demanding that PKR and DAP apologise and retract their statement in not supporting hudud, failing which Permatang Pauh PAS would boycott the Permatang Pauh by-election.
The division also wanted a retraction of the statement, allegedly issued by PKR, which had not declared support for the implementation of hudud.
Omar said the division had given PKR until nomination day to apologise and retract its stand in not supporting hudud, adding that Permatang Pauh PAS would only offer cooperation to PKR in the by-election if the two conditions were met.
Tian Chua, however, refused to believe all the fuss “speculated by the media”.
“This is a tactic to divide Pakatan Rakyat. It is a media speculation. I have full confidence in PAS that they will not let us down.
“I have not heard anything from the PAS members there saying they will not support us.
“Everything that was reported was just a speculation to divide us,” he said firmly.
Meanwhile, Perak DAP adviser Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said he believed that what Omar had said was “his own personal view” and did not represent that of the whole party.
Admitting that DAP, PKR and PAS had their differences, nonetheless Ngeh said the coalition would continue to work on their common ground.
“We knew since day one that we have our differences, but we emphasise on common ground.
“Just because we have our differences does not mean we cannot work together.
“Hadi Awang and (Mohamad) Mat Sabu have said that they would continue to work with Pakatan Rakyat.
“So, in my opinion, this individual (Omar) made the statement in his own capacity and does not support Pakatan,” Ngeh told The Rakyat Post, referring to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu.
PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the move by Permatang Pauh PAS was “inappropriate and unbecoming” as there already was a cooperative solution to the hudud issue.
He also said as an Islamic democratic party, it wasn’t right for PAS to “coerce” its allies to accept the Islamic agenda as it was not within Pakatan Rakyat’s common policy framework.
“As much as we hope that they would one day lend their support to us on this issue of hudud, when times are more permitting and conducive, we have come to an amicable solution of ‘agreeing to disagree’ for the time being.
“I must say again that it would be inappropriate and unbecoming for Permatang Pauh PAS to pose this issue as an ultimatum to secure their support for the by-election,” he told The Rakyat Post when contacted.
On support for the coming by-election, Dzulkefly said the PAS Central Working Committee had decided that it will support PKR to win and maintain the parliamentary seat.
“None other than PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu has been appointed to lead the charge from PAS.”
Meanwhile, a political analyst, when asked to comment on the demand for apology, said both PKR and DAP were not expected to do so.
Speaking to The Rakyat Post, Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said that as a result, PAS may be conducting a silent protest during the campaigning period.
This could affect Pakatan Rakyat’s bid to retain the seat with a bigger majority, he warned.
“PAS’ support is vital, especially as they’ve been holding the Permatang Pasir state seat in the Permatang Pauh constituency since 1999.
“The only hope is the directive from the PAS’ central leadership to ensure that the campaigning for Pakatan Rakyat goes smoothly without a hitch.”
However, should the problem prolong, Sivamurugan said it could result in damage to Pakatan’s campaigning.
“The majority for Pakatan could be much less in that case, but all of this depends on the issues of the day, especially with the local folks there.”
Sivamurugan expected the by-election agenda to be based mainly on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) vs hudud as both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat would be put to the test by the people on both these subjects.
The Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat became vacant after the Pardons Board rejected an appeal submitted by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s family following his five-year imprisonment for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
In the 2013 general election, Anwar won the Permatang Pauh seat by 11,721 votes.
Nomination day for the by-election is April 25. The by-election will be held on May 7.
PAS BAKAL MENGUNDANG KEGAGALANNYA? (versii TMI yg lebih panjang disini)
- PAS berada di kedudukan politik terkuat dalam sejarah jatuh-bangun perjuangannya.
- PAS merekod prestasi terbaik pada Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) ke-10 (1999). PAS menang 43 peratus (27 dari 63) kerusi parlimen. AlMarhum Ust Fadzil Noor (UFN) selaku Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia. Perintah dua negeri Kelantan dan Terengganu.
- Betul, PAS tidak mengatasi prestasi terbaiknya pada dua PRU ke-12 (2008) dan ke-13 (2013)Pada PRU ke-12. PAS menang 23 peratus kerusi parlimen (menang 23 dari 67 kerusi) dan turun ke paras 21 peratus (menang 21 dari 73) pada 2013.PAS tawan Kedah pada PRU-12 namun hilang negeri tersebut pada PRU ke-13 lalu.
- Kalau begitu, mengapakah penulis tetap mengatakan PAS berada pada sisi terkuat dewasa ini?
- Kekuatan sebuah parti politik perlu diukur dari pelbagai sisi- dimensi. Tersasar kalau mengukur kekuatan hanya dari jumlah kerusi di parlimen. Tambahan kalau kemenangan itu disebabkan faktor-faktor situasi luaran.
- Kemenangan PRU ke-10 disebabkan “tsunami Melayu” menolak Umno-Barisan Nasional (UBN) akibat kezaliman PM Tun M terhadap TPM, DSAIm PAS raih laba politik paling besar pd PRU 1999. PAS tidak ldapat sokongan kaum bukan-Melayu.
- Malangnya kemenangan tidak dapat bertahan. Ya, sebaik sahaja mula sesi parlimen ke-10 (1999-2004), PAS mula ‘hilang arah cerita’ atau lost the plot. Ada pimpinan mula menyebut PAS menang kerana orang Melayu mahukan PAS perjuangkan Negara Islam.Tun M lantas mencabar PAS.
- Memorandum Rakyat” -legasi UFN, respons cabaran Tun Mahathir, segera mengalami pertukaran kepada jodol “Dokumen Negara Islam” (DNI). Pesanan al-marhum kepada penulis dan rakan-rakan think-tank parti, supaya memo ditajukkan “Penghayatan Sebuah Pemerintahan Abad 15H/21Masehi”, tenggelam dan hilang dalam hiruk-pikuk polemik tentang DNI. Penulis dan think-tank terpaksa akur.
- Barisan Alternatif (BA) terus berkeberentakan. DAP keluar dari koalisi pada Sept 2001. Koalisi BA, baru berumur 2 tahun. PKN/R terus renggang dari PAS, masing-masing bawa haluan sendiri. BA wujud pada nama, lambang dan cogan kata, tetapi tidak pada gerak kerja.
- Akibat ‘terlupa’ mengurus ‘kekuatan barunya’, PAS dihukum dan dipukul teruk dalam PRU ke11, 2004. Dari 27 kerusi, PAS hanya tinggal 6 kerusi parlimen. PAS gagal pertahan kerajaan Terengganu dan hampir kalah di Kelantan, beza 1 kerusi dan I undi
- Jawatankuasa Post-Mortem PAS Pusat PRU ke-11 (2004), kenalpasti dapatan pelbagai faktor luaran (penipuan & media) dan dalaman (jentera) sebagai penyumbang utama kekalahan PAS dalam pilihan raya itu.
- Namun faktor kekalahan paling dominan ialah pelancaran “Dokumen Negara Islam”. Didapati PAS bentang DNI tetapi dikenalpasti post-mortem, “gagal mengurus penerangan dan pencerahan”. Pelbagai persepsi negatif dan tanggapan buruk pelbagai segmen rakyat serta pengundi menjadikan PAS sasaran jahat media lawan.
- PAS gagal menangkis tohmahan serta serangan seterunya. Kekuatan dan mandat barunya musnah dan kembali kepada kedudukan lama atau sokongan ‘tegar dan asal’nya.
- Lawan politik tersenyum berbisa, taktik pecah-perintah berjaya, koalisi BA punah dan PAS tersungkur. Begitu, kurang lebih naratif atau kisahnya.
- Berbeza PRU 10, kejayaan PAS pd PRU ke-12 dan seterusnya PRU ke-13 adalah hasil pelebaran tapak sokongan baru. PAS bina kekuatan secara sedar dan terancang. PAS tidak sekadar ‘menumpang tui’ nasib malang DSAI dan laba undi protes seperti PRU ke-10.
- PAS membina asas kekuatan baru dengan meruntuhkan prejudis serta tembok-tembok halangan golongan pengundi bukan-Melayu dan bukan-Islam. Golongan pengundi Melayu Islam bandar dan pinggir Melayu, mula memberikan kepercayaan kepada PAS dan memenangkan calon-calon PAS.
- Bagi menjayakan strategi, PAS melalui satu anjakan besar disegi mesej politiknya- dri konsep “Negara Islam” yang disalahertikan oleh pelbagai pihak, PAS secara tegas membuat ijtihad beraninya, dalam menampilkan tawaran “Negara Berkebajikan” berserta dengan slogan “PAS Untuk Semua” atau “PAS For All” dalam Manifesto PRU ke-12.
- Perubahan ini diistilahkan Profesor Tariq Ramadan, pemikir kontemporari Islam, sebagai satu eksperimen di seluruh dunia Islam, sebagai ‘anjakan generasi’ atau satu ‘generational shift’. PAS dan Gerakan Islam memasuki era baru dalam pengalaman Political Islam di persada persaingan demokrasi atau democratic contestation. Benarkah PAS benar-benar komited kepada agenda ini?
- Meringkaskan cerita, PAS terus menggarap isu-isu besar dalam negara dengan pedekatan inklusif dan menyerlahkan erti dan makna slogan seperti “PAS For All” dan mendukungi prinsip “Rahmat untuk Semua” atau “Mercy Unto All”.
- PAS terus menangani isu-isu krtikal yang menajamkan pertentangan etnik dan membakar pertembungan agama. Isu kalimah “Allah” termasuk pelbagai polemik kaum yang diungkap dengan kepentingan agama secara sempit, ditangani PAS secara konsisten dan berlandaskan syariat yang mensejahterakan dan mendamaikan.
- Samada bersama rakan PR dalam “Dasar-Dasar Bersama” atau pun bersendirian, PAS berjaya menyerlahkan erti dan penghayatan Islam sebagai sistem hidup untuk memberikan jaminan “Keadilan Untuk Semua” atau “Justice for All”. Disamping itu, PAS tegas dalam membentaras polisi-polisi yang bersifat perkauman dan yang memangsakan dan meminggirkan sesetengah pihak rakyat terutama golongan miskin dan berpendapaan rendah. Juga begitu ketegasan PAS untuk menentang rasuah, salah guna kuasa, pembaziran serta pembolotan kekayaan negara oleh segelintir penguasa politik bersama kroni-kroni mereka.
- Mengambil keseluruhan kemajuan inilah, penulis menyatakan bahawa PAS sedang menduduki posisi politik yang paling kuat dan mantap. Tidak keterlaluan kalau penulis terus menyongsong bahawa PAS berada dalam satu unjuran (trajectory) menempah kejayaan yang lebih baik, tentunya bersama rakan-rakan tahaaluf-nya. Berdasar unjuran yang modest, PAS adalah dalam keluk menambah 13 kerusi (berjumlah 34 kerusi) seandainya PR terus bergandingan secara mantap dan serasi dalam PRU ke-14 akan datang.
- Namun meringkaskan pergolakan mutakhirnya ini, kesemua kejayaan PAS yang tertera di atas akan bakal terencat atau mengalami satu setback yang mengecewakan. Apakah PAS sedang mula mengalami satu fenomena “Berpatah Balik” atau ‘March Backward’ atau ‘Retrogression’??
- Permasalahan parti ini samada yang bersifat keberentakan dalaman mahupun yang bersabit dengan masaalah hubungan di antara rakan komponen PR, telah mengakibatkan pemerhati politik khuatir dan cemas.
- Lebih gusar lagi adalah pendukung dan aktivis parti di akar umbinya, yang secara langsung bakal menanggung kesan serta akibat konflik tersebut, khasnya di negeri-negeri pantai Barat; Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak serta Melaka-Negeri Sembilan-Johor. Umum diingatkan kerusi PAS di DUN Selangor ialah 0, begitu juga Johor 0, Perak 0 dan Negeri Sembilan-Melaka 0. Itulah kekuatan baseline kita pada 2004 atau selepas sinergi koalisi terhalang dan kita kembali kepada ‘sokongan tegar dan asal’.
- Justeru, cadangan-cadangan seumpama untuk bersedia bertanding bersendirian atau keluar daripada Pakatan tidak wajar diucapkan pemimpin kecuali kalau mereka itu hanya menghitung kperuan negeri mereka sendiri yang berada diUtara atauPantai Timur.
- Begitu juga tegasnya sesetengah ahli dan kepimpinan yang menyuruh ahli mahupun kepimpinan untuk keluar parti ketika wujud perbezaan atau ikhltiaf. Pimpinan yang matang dan tidak gelojoh serta bebas dari unsor ‘ekstremisme’ tahu akan erti ‘mengurus ikhtilaf’ atau perbezaan dan kepelbagaian, dalam sebuah organisasi besar dan koalisi yang semakin kompleks dan mencabar.
- Sementara itu dalam mengurus isu hudud pula, seteru tradisi PAS sedang menggoda dengan pelbagai cara. Musuh tetap musuh, meskipun tampak ‘ikhlas’. Sayugia dingatkan tuntutan Allah supaya kita hazar (berwaspada) dan pesanan Nabi bagi mengelak dipatuk dua kali dari lubang yang sama. Al-marhum Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz dan Ustaz Fadzil Noor acap mengingatkan kita.
- Seandainya PAS terus terjerumus akibat kehilangan ‘jalan cerita’nya atau losing the plot again sekali lagi, maka kita akan bakal mengulangi nasib yang sama seperti pengalaman PRU ke-11 (2004). PAS dikhuatiri akan kehilangan sokongan barunya di kalangan Melayu-Islam di bandar dan pinggir bandar, dan tentunya tidak dapat bertahan mengekalkan kepercayaan atau trust pengundi bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam-nya. Seterunya sangat mahukan natijah ini bagi menggagalkan PAS dan menghancurkan PR. Minta Allah jauhkan!
- Setiap kali PAS berasakan parti dan jenteranya ‘kuat’, Allah mengajar kita dengan keputusan yang menginsafkan kita. Disamping pengalaman 2004, pegalaman PRU ke-7 (1986) juga menyedarkan kita. PAS hanya tinggal kerusi tunggalnya, Pengkalan Chepa, di parlimen dalam pilihan raya yang menyaksikan PAS meletakkan seramai 98 calon, paling tinggi dalam sejarahnya (jumlah kerusi di parlimen 177).
- Apakah kepimpinan PAS di peringkat Pusat serta di peringkat akar-umbi, khasnya di ambang Muktamar ke-61 ini, akan mengizinkan PAS mengundang nasib buruk ini sekali lagi? Mampukah PAS kini, mengelakkan kesilapan lamanya? Berjayakah PAS mengawal suara-suara emosi (‘atifi) supaya jangan mengatasi suara ilmu, kekuatan informasi dan panduan pengalaman (tajribah)? Berjayakah PAS menggembleng seluruh tenaga kepimpinan dan kepakaran serta segala kepelbagai kekuatan partinya? Jawapan in ini ada pada setiap ahli, khasnya setiap perwakilan pada Muktamar ini.
- Penulis akan terus berkongsi pengamatannya dalam artikel seterusnya yang berjudul “Selamatkan PAS”.
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Pengarah Eksekutif Pusat Penyelidikan PAS