Permatang Pauh… and the winner is …
Immediately after the PRU 2008 in March, I suggested to some friends in Penang (Chinese guys who voted for the opposition) that the true political party who won was actually PAS, not PKR or DAP and definitely not the PAKATAN. They were a little confused but the Perak MBship helped them understand things a little better. My take is simple. Amongst all the political parties today, the most organized and the one that is most clear of its goal is none other than PAS. They also have quality leaders across the levels within the party, nationwide both for the state leadership as well as nationally.
PKR is overly dependent on the cult of Anwar – take him out of the equation and the PKR brand may just be deadish, DAP is a still a NATO party (even today after months of managing Penang - just listen to the debate between LGE and Dr KTK) and UMNO the largest party in the Parliament (actually UMNO has the most number of seats) is in shambles. So here comes the slow and steady PAS.
Now, why Permatang Pauh is a PAS win?
I say that PAS was instrumental in ensuring Anwars’s win especially in countering Saiful’s Quran swearing act. As I said in an earlier blog, that act is really big to Malay-Muslims. Deep inside the Malay- Muslims’ heart they still believe that the swearing is a dashat thingy but the Ulamaks have special powers in the Muslim psyche. And they managed to upturn it!
That is why Anwar owe PAS taikos big time. If you look at the PAS’ ceramah with Tok Guru seated cooly and with calm authority at the center flanked with his party stalwarts (and Anwar terperosok di belakang; Anwar actually looked like a little boy-teenager eagerly allowing the ‘adults’ to speak for him) you understand the power of the Ulamaks- a powerhouse based on religiosity – not money, not positions, not tenders or APs, not charismatic speeches and definitely not empty promises. In matters of religion, the hereafter and God a simple gentle whisper from a Tok Guru is more powerful than Anwar’s fiery speeches or the BN’s election machinery!!!
Anwar may have won the Permatang Pauh seat, but PAS just won the leadership of the Malays. My take is this. If Anwar managed to swing enough MPs to topple the BN… it may be immediate or just a little later … the PM ship goes to PAS. Now … that will be a real interesting twist in Malaysian Politics! Having a PM from a non-raced based political party with religion as its powerbase. The coming of PAS ... jeng!jeng!jeng!