They say there is a silver lining in every dark cloud and Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar Ibrahim’s sex video controversies has not dampened PAS partnership with PKR and DAP in Pakatan Rakyat as they see the latest sex video episode as a set up. Article PAS SEES OPPORTUNITY IN SEX VIDEO by Aidila Razak below courtesy of <a href=”http://www.malaysiakini.com”>Malaysiakini</a> below:
PAS sees opportunity in sex video
May 7, 11
While PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has been facing a barrage of attacks since the leak of a sex video purportedly involving him, Pakatan Rakyat partner PAS sees an unlikely silver lining as the opposition gears up for a snap general election.
According to PAS leaders, the attack on Anwar has allowed them not only to solidify their image as an Islamic party, but also as a steadfast and loyal partner of Pakatan.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, vice-president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said there has been a spike in turnouts at rallies held by the party, particularly in the rural Malay heartland where information is less forthcoming.
"We believe that this is the target of the sex video allegations, and the rural Malays are affected because they only get information from (BN-linked) media," he said.
Tuan Ibrahim added that having Anwar speaking at these events in the rural areas, including several in Pahang where he is also state PAS commissioner, has helped draw in people who want to hear the other side of the story.
According to PAS information chief Idris Ahmad, PAS's stance on the matter - that the sex video is slander and qazaf (an unsubstantiated allegation of adultery) - was unanimously agreed by party leaders.
"We are solid on this, at all levels, from the leadership to the grassroots... we are using our religious scholars to explain to people, especially the Malays, the Islamic principles on this issue," Idris said when contacted.
Tuan Ibrahim also said the sex tape issue was unlikely to make any waves at its muktamar(general assembly), to be held in June.
Similarly, he said, there were not likely to be much undercurrents over PAS' position in Pakatan following the sex tape circulation, despite claims that the party is undermining its Islamic image by aligning itself with Anwar.
Party initially troubled by sex tape
Fellow vice-president Salahuddin Ayub agreed, adding that it was just as crucial for PAS to prove itself as a steadfast coalition member.
"Even when facing a general election, it will not affect our stand in Pakatan... the people are looking at us to see if we are loyal partners.
"We are together in Pakatan for the good, and we will face adversities together," Salahuddin said when contacted.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has been seen at recent press conferences strongly defending Anwar, while party spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat too has raised doubts on the sex tape allegations.
However, this consistent voice of support for Anwar had been less obvious soon after the sex video was exposed on March 21, when PAS ulama council head Harun Taib said the party would need to re-evaluate its relationship with Anwar if he was proven to be the man in the video.
And while Salahuddin (left) was more guarded, preferring not to "jump the gun" in commenting on PAS' stance in such an event, fellow vice-president Mahfuz Omar was more forthcoming.
"Anwar was already convicted (of sodomy) before and still we are in the coalition. It's clear that even if he is (found to be the man in the video), we will stand by him because we believe this is a set-up," Mahfuz said.
Issue could backfire on Umno
While the crowds have thus far been receptive to Anwar, Tuan Ibrahim admitted that it was uncertain whether the large turnouts would translate to votes in an election.
"We are hoping that the rural Malays will hold on to Islamic principles on this matter. This kind of 'abnormal expose' involving heavy media play, and seeming police protection (provided to the accusers), just does not sit well with the Malays.
"It's not part of Malay culture to embarrass someone like that, and the people are growing tired of this," Tuan Ibrahim said.
Political scientist Shaharudin Badarudin said sentiments on the ground show that the issue could backfire on Umno, as in 1999 when the Malays protested through the ballot box against the harsh persecution of Anwar.
"The sex video will hardly leave a scratch on Pakatan, but instead it will hurt Umno the most," said the Universiti Teknologi Mara lecturer.
After all, Shaharudin added, PAS and Umno were really fighting to win over just the five to seven percent of fence-sitters, and there was only so much of gutter politics that the electorate could endure.