Although the Barisan Alternatif manifesto has left out
the setting up of an Islamic state, PAS
leaders have continuously vowed
to push for hudud laws if they
come to power.
The statements and practices of PAS have
proved that they are not committed to
multi-racialism and liberalism.
The party is not fielding any woman
candidate. Yet women groups backing the
Opposition have sadly maintained their
Keadilan and DAP, in an attempt to remove the fears of the Chinese, have said that PAS would not come to power.
Not many Chinese voters are likely to be
convinced. Keadilan, DAP and PRM
together may field more candidates than
PAS but it is almost certain that
PAS will win the most seats.
The bottomline is that PAS will call the
shots and be the dominant party in Barisan Alternatif.
The ability of PAS to come to power is
not unreal, despite the findings of a
recent survey showing that 60% of
respondents backing Barisan.
The survey reported that 52% of Malay
votes will go to Barisan, 33% to PAS, 10% to Keadilan, 3% to the DAP and 2%
Of the Chinese votes, 74% will go to
Barisan, 4% to PAS, 3% to Keadilan, 10%
to DAP and 9% to others.
Of the Indian votes, 91% will go to
Barisan, 7% to PAS and 2% to
The survey has basically confirmed the feelings of many Chinese voters and when
the DAP leadership decided to
partner PAS and Keadilan, they should have understood the consequences.
The tie-up, in fact, infuriated many DAP
DAP secretary-general Lim Kit Siang has
said that the unprecedented opposition unity
and possibility of breaking the
Barisan clout itself was worth it.
But the feeling of many Chinese voters is that while they welcomed the DAP's struggle for civil liberties, the party had run contrary to its cause by working with PAS.
The community is not afraid of Islam but
rather PAS' brand of politics and
interpretation of the religion.
Besides that, the participation of DAP
leaders in Keadilan linked reformasi demonstrations has cost the DAP some support.
The Chinese community is known for its
phobia of luan (chaos), preferring
economic and political stability.
The younger DAP leaders may not
understand this but surely the veterans
must be able to gauge the mood of the
Many people also felt that DAP deputy
chairman Karpal Singh had gone
overboard. As a lawyer, he may be doing his best for his client, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but his courtroom theatrics are not
Chinese voters may sympathise with former MP for Kota Melaka Lim Guan Eng who
was jailed but they are unlikely to
be emotional over the Anwar issue.
Most Chinese voters believe that Dr
Mahathir has performed very well in
turning the economy around and
maintaining political stability.
Many in the Chinese community do not take Keadilan leaders seriously because they are regarded as people
who had made money and are now
criticising the Government, not because
of injustices but simply because they are no longer influential.
For the DAP, their strategy and
inability to read the mood of their core
supporters would cost them many
Realising their weakness, DAP leaders
now tell Chinese voters the party is in
danger of closing shop if the votes
don't come in.
The sympathy tactic may work to some
extent, but the DAP should have fought
its own battle like what the PBS is
doing in Sabah.
The PBS, as a predominantly Christian party, understood the situation and refused to be part of Barisan Alternatif.
Among the opposition front component
parties, PAS looks set to do better than
the DAP, PRM or Keadilan.
If Keadilan fares badly, many of its
leaders will likely apply to rejoin
Umno. As part of establishment for the last 16 years and having benefited from the system, it is unlikely that the Keadilan leaders are able to bear the difficulties of being in the Opposition.
To most Chinese voters, Barisan Alternatif is no alternative to Barisan Nasional.