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.