While its new partners in Pakatan Harapan have cut ties with PAS, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli said his party won’t do the same to prevent the opposition from total annihilation at the next general elections.
Speaking at a forum on Pakatan Harapan’s future plans last night, the PKR vice-president and secretary-general said his party has acted as the opposition lynchpin and cannot afford to cut off ties with PAS as the conservative Islamist party still commands sizeable support from voters.
“How do you command a party which has sizeable support? This is the dilemma in PKR and we have this tragic burden of having to be a bridge for everyone.
“We cannot burn bridges with them… we must still speak with them if not, we are entering into a mutually destructive election in the future,” the Pandan MP told a dinner at the Thean Hou temple here, referring to the national polls that must be held by 2018.
Rafizi was commenting on his party’s behalf after DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua told the dinner audience at the fundraiser for Amanah that PAS cannot be trusted to remain loyal even if it ends hostilities with its former allies and joins Pakatan Harapan.
In his speech, Pua also said the new opposition pact did not need PAS to secure the Malay vote.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP went on to claim that PAS was losing support even in its spiritual home in Kelantan, where he said support previously remained strong only because of loyalties to the late Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat
Pua said Nik Aziz’s death meant there was no compelling reason for Kelantan voters to continue backing PAS.
Pakatan Harapan came into being on September 22 without PAS on board, due to its poor relations with secular DAP and breakaway party Amanah.
PAS and DAP’s disagreement over hudud led to the disintegration of the previous opposition pact, Pakatan Rakyat while Amanah was formed by PAS progressives who were ousted during its annual congress in June.
On October 4, PAS Youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz said that PAS will only work with political parties that accepted Islam as whole including issues like hudud.
On the party’s relationship with PKR, he said it was mutually beneficial for the two parties to maintain cooperation, despite the former rejecting the latter’s invitation to participate in the formation of the new coalition Pakatan Harapan.
Nik Abduh added that unlike DAP, PKR has managed to agree to disagree with PAS and maintain a mutual respect for one another.