BARELY a year after the DAP, PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) pact took over the administration of four states, their leaders appear to be embroiled in a myriad of disagreements.
The relationship between DAP and PAS is already on the rocks, following the latter’s proposal to introduce the Hudud law (Islamic penal code). DAP made no attempt to hide its displeasure with PKR taking the middle ground.
A rift has now erupted between DAP chairman Karpal Singh and Pakatan de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the former’s bid to take legal action against the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, over the appointment of Perak’s new menteri besar.
Anwar disagreed with the move, saying Pakatan does not want to be seen as going against the Rulers’ institution.
In a rare outburst, Karpal Singh told a news conference last Sunday that Anwar should repent and resign as the Pakatan leader as his party-hopping politics had cost Pakatan the state government in Perak.
The DAP veteran, who is Bukit Gelugor MP, also hit out at DAP strongmen Lim Kit Siang and secretary-general Lim Guan Eng for supporting Anwar’s brand of politics.
Pakatan has distanced itself from Karpal’s bid to file a suit against the Sultan of Perak, saying he was doing so in his personal capacity and (the suit) had nothing to do with Pakatan.
Former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said it was up to Karpal whether to proceed with the legal action, and that he (Nizar) had no knowledge of it.
Yesterday, Mohammad Nizar filed an application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court, seeking a declaration that he was still the rightful menteri besar of Perak and to bar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, who was appointed menteri besar on Feb 6, from discharging his duties.
Karpal’s remarks highlighted Anwar’s role in triggering the country’s political conundrum at the moment. The prolonged political crisis in Perak and the court action by Mohammad Nizar and the DAP have diverted public attention from the fact that the whole crisis could be traced back to Anwar.
Immediately after the 12th general election in March, Anwar declared that Pakatan would form the federal government on Sept 16, because 31 of 140 Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs would defect to the opposition pact, thus enabling it to form the government with a simple majority.
But Anwar’s political game proved to be self-defeating as in the end, Pakatan lost the Perak state government through defections when four of its assemblymen quit their respective parties and declared support to the BN.
Now, leaders like Karpal are questioning Anwar’s credibility as Pakatan’s de facto leader.
“He (Anwar) is like one who casts a stone and hides his hands,” political analyst Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussein said in an interview over TV3.
Anwar, who is Permatang Pauh MP, seeks to downplay Karpal’s outburst, saying it was a personal view and that their relationship was intact.
But it remains to be seen if Anwar could continue to be a leader acceptable to DAP, PKR and PAS, and if party-hopping would continue to be part of the pact’s political game plan.
In the meantime, the fall-out from Pakatan’s downfall in Perak has triggered speculation that several assemblymen in Kedah and Selangor would also join the BN, with the possibility of Pakatan losing both state governments, looming like a overcast sky.
The simultaneous by-elections for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah on April 7, would be a bitter test for Pakatan’s survival under Anwar’s leadership. Can Pakatan retain the two seats they won in the last general election? Should the results favour the BN, would there be more calls for Anwar to step down?