KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang today shrugged off talk that his party may split from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) due to recurring conflicts with PAS, saying the idea had “not seriously occurred” to party leaders.
The senior politician also rejected the notion that PAS had kowtowed to DAP when the former revoked the Kedah entertainment outlet ban yesterday, insisting instead that the state government had shown tolerance and their willingness to resolve conflicts through consultation.
“The issue has shown the preparedness of the Pakatan Rakyat leadership to discuss and resolve problems, a glaring contrast with Umno,” he told The Malaysian Insider today.
“The misunderstanding is really about the enactment in 1997 passed by Barisan Nasional (BN). That enactment affects the rights and sensitivities of the non-Muslims but now it has been rectified.”
Lim acknowledged, however, that the issue had irked many members from PAS and DAP but stressed that the problem had been resolved amicably through a win-win solution for both parties.
The Kedah state government raised eyebrows recently when it said it would enforce the Entertainment and Entertainment Outlets Enactment 1997, which prohibits 13 types of entertainment outlets from operating during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
DAP leaders, including Lim, had spoken out against the ban, saying it infringed on the rights of non-Muslims and would be bad for business. Despite this, an aide close to the Kedah mentri besar said the ban would remain.
On his Twitter account last Saturday, DAP MP Tony Pua (left) expressed frustration, saying that he “is of the view that we shouldn’t be part of a coalition if our concerns are not heard or heeded. Don’t want to become like MCA or Gerakan in BN”.
When contacted by The Malaysian Insider later, Pua declined at first to elaborate on his tweet but admitted that the subject of cutting off ties with its political allies had been raised at the party’s retreat in Seremban and will be discussed further when the PR leadership meets tomorrow for its strategy session.
This would not be the first time DAP has broken off ties with its political allies. In 2001, the Chinese-majority party withdrew from Barisan Alternatif, after a similar falling out with PAS over the latter’s insistence on setting up an Islamic state in then PAS-ruled Terengganu.
“But I do not think Tony (Pua) meant what was put out on Twitter... it was not to be read in that manner, that DAP should split from PR... in fact, it (splitting) has not really occurred to us and I am sure, not even to him,” said Lim.
PAS’s national leadership moved to defuse the mounting tension over the issue and announced yesterday that the ban would be revoked and replaced by operational guidelines to stop Muslims from patronising entertainment outlets.
“Look on the positive side... this decision, this development is most welcome. It shows in particular, the PAS’s leadership as well as the Kedah state government’s readiness to correct the misunderstanding,” said Lim.
On MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s claim in the newspapers today that the entire debacle was a “sandiwara” (play) between PAS and DAP, Lim brushed off the former health minister’s words as trivial.
“The more he speaks, the lesser his credibility. In fact, it would be quite an achievement for him to go any lower than he is today,” he said.