To be an opposition does not necessarily mean one has to oppose all the time and one has to look at supporting motions on a case by case basis.
This is the stand taken by PAS President and Marang Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Abdul Awang.
Just before the 14th General Elections, Abdul Hadi got flak from his opposition counterparts for having abstained during vote for motions in the Parliament, to the extent that he was lambasted by the then fellow opposition members as taking the side of Barisan Nasional government.
The strategy of not going with the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan during GE14 worked to the advantage of PAS returning in full force to the East Coast
“Not everything that the government implements is a negative thing. There are some (government proposals) that we support, some that we oppose and some of which we take the neutral stand in. We take the neutral stand, as in our parliament, there are those who support or oppose,” said Abdul Hadi.
The man known more as an ulama (cleric) rather than as a politician is in good spirits, what with PAS having swept up almost all Terengganu and Kelantan parliamentary and state assembly seats in the just-concluded polls.
He said that this showed that the strategy of not going with the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan during GE14 worked to the advantage of PAS returning in full force to the East Coast.
Analysts have predicted that without joining the Pakatan Harapan, PAS would be wiped out completely and not be able to be neither opposition or state governments.
He said that there are times when it would do no good to oppose for the sake of opposing. He said that it would be better in those times to abstain or support the government’s proposals. Abdul Hadi said that this can even be practised despite PAS being an opposition.
“For example, in the budget, we see the necessary and the needed (expenses) - for example, the salaries of the civil service. Infrastructure expenditure is a must. We have to support. But a project that is a wastage, we oppose. Therefore, if there is nothing to be said in the vote, we take the neutral stand. That is our experience,” said Abdul Hadi.
He said that abstaining from voting and not joining the opposition to oppose the government is not something new for PAS in Dewan Rakyat.
He said that, this was done even when PAS was part of the Barisan Nasional.
He cited the time in 1979 when the Federal Government declared the Emergency in Kelantan to take over the state.
“We were in the government and we walked out, and stood together with DAP opposing the Kelantan Emergency,” said Abdul Hadi.
He further explained that many do not realise that it is not the first time that PAS has taken the lone road of not completely taking the side of the opposition or the government in Parliament.