Stay in Pakatan, Mat Sabu tells PAS

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KUALA LUMPUR: PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said the party must remain in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) if it wants to defeat Barisan Nasional (BN) in the next general election.

Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, said history showed that the Islamist party’s biggest successes were due to its cooperation with PKR and DAP in 2008 when the three parties took control of five states, as well as in last year’s general election when PR won the popular vote.

“I want to summarise here, PAS’s success rate has increased since it is in the coalition or tahalluf siyasi (political coalition) and PAS experienced its worst results when it did not have tahalluf or was arguing with its allies in PR.

“If PAS and its partners in PR want to take over Putrajaya through elections and the democratic process, there is no other option than working together with the opposition parties and NGOs to face BN,” he said in an article published by the party’s online portal, Harakahdaily.

The three-party coalition first denied BN its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 12th general election, and saw the BN losing Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor in addition to Kelantan which had been under PAS.

In the same polls, PAS won 23 parliamentary and 82 state seats nationwide.

Mat Sabu said history had proved that PAS usually suffered defeat whenever it was not part of any political coalition, as seen through the past general elections.

One of the examples, he said, was in 2004 when DAP decided to leave Barisan Alternatif (BA) and, as a result, PAS lost Terengganu to Umno and also recorded a significant drop in Malay votes.

“During the 2004 general election, we lost Terengganu and obtained only a single seat in Kedah and five in Kelantan,” he said.

Mat Sabu said the party should go back to what he described as “the golden age of Pakatan” in 1999 when PAS, DAP and PKR formed BA and won 27 parliamentary seats, seizing control of Kelantan and Terengganu.

“PR and tahalluf siasi continued during the last general election by winning 52% popular votes,” he said.

“Although we did not get back Terengganu, PAS only lost two seats there. We did not do any better in Kedah but we did well in Selangor,” Mat Sabu said.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 4, 2014.