COMMENT What’s gotten into Lim Kit Siang?
Just when just about everyone in the opposition has given up hope on getting Hadi Awang and PAS onside for a united front against Umno-BN going into GE14, DAP’s Kit Siang turns around to invite the PAS supremo to join in the battle against kleptocracy.
He makes this invitation to a party that has long shown it is more uptight over things like fornication and petty crimes than sins of a graver sort, like grand larceny, and of a more insidious nature, like overweening pride.
The latter sins do not trouble PAS; in its taxonomy, its mindset is more haunted by the thought that someone, somewhere may be having fun.
Hence the readiness to endorse medieval punishments for sins of the flesh that moderns have come to regard - and correctly, too - as cruel and unusual.
Kit Siang forgets PAS has been spurning the opposition from before GE13.
The Islamists’ June 2015 departure from Pakatan Rakyat was adumbrated by unpublicised moves made by their senior leaders weeks before the May 5 vote that year.
A delegation of them called on Anwar Ibrahim to tell him that should Pakatan Rakyat win GE13, PAS would nominate Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Umno gadfly and perennial MP for Gua Musang, as their choice for prime minister.
Razaleigh, on being approached by the delegation, told them to wait for the results of the polls before he could give them an answer to their proposition.
The PAS offer was made in spite of the consensus within Pakatan Rakyat that Anwar was their PM-designate.
This eleventh-hour departure from the Pakatan Rakyat consensus must have prompted Anwar to a frenetic and ill-advised agreement with then-Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla - fraternal to the PKR leader and friendly to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak - that PR would abide by the electorate’s choice.
Kalla already had the acquiescence of Najib - diffident about calling the election but confident of a gerrymandered victory - to an arrangement in which he would publicly state that BN was willing to accept the verdict of voters.
That explained Najib’s surprising deportment when announcing the dissolution of Parliament in early April 2013 that his coalition would bow to the wishes of the voters.
It flew in the face of earlier broad hints by the PM and furtive manoeuvres by scarcely neutral elements of the state apparatus that defeat for the incumbents would be unimaginable.