Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali is DAP’s new shooting target, after the Chinese-based multi-racial party failed to unseat Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as PAS president in the party’s poll June.
The reading on the wall is clear after the Selangor DAP congress on Saturday that Azmin must eject PAS from the Selangor state government or face DAP’s wrath – which literally means the party will pressure Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leadership to act against Azmin or the new Pakatan Harapan will only have two parties which will be the DAP and newly formed Parti Amanah Nasional (Amanah).
DAP is angry with Azmin for accommodating PAS in the state government despite having Amanah as replacement for the Islamist party in the new opposition pact.
DAP’s anger with PAS dated way before 2013 general election when the Islamist party did not move an inch on its struggle for an Islamic state and implementation of Hudud – the two objectives that DAP has been against all along.
Adding to that is PAS leadership’s stand that the Prime Minister candidate must be the party president if the pact wins Putrajaya, a far-fetched aspiration going by the current political climate.
During that time PAS was also blasted for disagreeing to have PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail as Menteri Besar and instead supported Azmin, who is Wan Azizah’s deputy in the party.
DAP had cut ties with PAS by getting its Sarawak and Sabah divisions to act first before the party leadership endorsed and took similar stand at national level a few months later which was in the middle this year when Kelantan PAS-led government adopted Hudud laws.
And DAP had supported the move by PAS liberals led by the then deputy president Mohamad Sabu to unseat Hadi in the party poll in June but failed.
The failure had made DAP more bitter and after cutting ties with the Islamist party, had supported the PAS rejects to form Amanah, aimed at chipping away the Islamist party support and influence.
And now the party has begun to launch an assault against Azmin and the state PKR, not PKR at national level as its target is to get Azmin out of Selangor government or from the Menteri Besar post as well as PKR deputy president.
To Selangor DAP, Wan Azizah is not a problem as they see she can be ‘tamed’ but Azmin is a different ballgame altogether.
In fact, when Azmin was made Menteri Besar, to the disappointment of DAP and even PKR de facto chief who is Wan Azizah’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin’s relationship with PAS was already under question.
And when Azmin insisted that PAS is still with the state government despite the formation of Harapan Baru where DAP dominates and Amanah is a member, DAP got further irritated.
Its aim to have PAS alienated and left in the coldness of political wilderness failed and to have Amanah replaced the Islamist party in the opposition pact is near impossible.
Amanah is struggling for influence as it does not have a leader that can be considered as an icon for the Malays or liberals Muslims in the country.
Thus, the only way now is to get rid of Azmin, bring him down as Selangor Menteri Besar and DAP feels by doing so, it can dominate the state administration, given its 15 seats plus PKR’s 13 seat which is more than half of the total 56 state seats.
PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had replied to DAP’s pressure by telling the DAP lawmakers in Selangor to quit their positions instead if they were not happy with Azmin.
In a very firm and considered harsh words, Tuan Ibrahim said on Monday: “If they (Selangor DAP lawmakers) do not agree with Azmin’s decision to retain PAS, they should instead leave Selangor and not issue threats just so others would listen to their orders.”
And this time, DAP may find its target is not an easy prey and its ‘mission’ may fail.