So the cat’s out of the bag. It was recently revealed that opposition figure Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is aware of talks taking place behind closed doors between the People’s Justice Party (PKR) and Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS). It should come as no surprise if he had in fact sanctioned it in the first place. Ironically the matter only came to light following PKR’s vice president Rafizi Ramli’s public ranting of his disapproval over PKR attempting to forge some form of alliance with the Islamic party although PAS had officially announced its decision to sever ties with Datuk Seri Anwar’s party. The revelation of on-going discussions between the two parties could not have come at a worse time for the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH).
It was only two months ago when the loose alliance of opposition parties finally managed to declare its leadership line-up. That too was filled with its own fanfare. During an interview with Nikkei Asian Review in June 2017, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had offered himself as leader of the group but only to be denounced days later by Datuk Seri Anwar, who stated that it was not the former leader’s place to unilaterally decide who should be the pact’s choice for prime minister. Then a week later Tun Dr. Mahathir was declared chairman of PH while Datuk Seri Anwar was appointed de facto leader of PH.
News of PKR unilateral efforts to broker an alliance with PAS has left its coalition partners unsettled over the matter. The PH members were left to pick up the pieces to show that there remains a united front. The PH presidential council announcement last week that it will cease cooperation with PAS in the next general election was precisely intended to curb talks suggesting the opposition was in disarray.
On its part, PKR in particular Datuk Seri Azmin is understandably keen to maintain cordial ties with PAS in Selangor given that much is at stake. For now PKR has assured its coalition partners that it will cease all talks with PAS. But is this the end or just the beginning of PKR’s infighting coming to the fore? It is an open secret that Datuk Seri Azmin and Rafizi each have their own camps within PKR. The disagreements within the party has left the impression that PKR is in a state of confusion.