THE PAS muktamar only starts today but the noise coming from the meetings of the three wings the last two days points to one thing – the Opposition’s dream of taking Putrajaya is finished.
It is crystal clear by now that the PAS rank-and-file is 100% in support of their party going it alone in the general election.
In doing so, it will deny the Opposition front a large slice of Malay support, without which Pakatan Harapan has no hope of winning.
The Islamist party has been bashing Pakatan leaders left, right and centre. Umno used to be the favourite enemy at such PAS gatherings. But Umno now has to share the “honours” with Pakatan.
There is so much bad feeling about PKR that it is hard to see how the PAS leadership can persuade the delegates to let the party continue “sleeping with the enemy”.
The top leaders are still tempted to let things be in Selangor until the general election is called.
They were hoping that PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali would attend the opening ceremony today to help soften the hearts of the delegates. The Selangor Mentri Besar left for Taiwan on Tuesday. He is believed to have cut short his trip. He returned last night and there is a high possibility that he will be at the muktamar.
PAS Mursyidul Am Hashim Jasin had personally telephoned the Selangor Mentri Besar to invite him. The party also sent their deputy secretary-general to Azmin’s house to hand deliver an invitation.
The break-up wave is gathering strength and Dewan Pemuda yesterday lent its weight to the growing call to split with PKR.
The wave may build up into a tsunami sweeping through the Selangor government by the time the muktamar concludes.
PAS had played the apologist role during its time in Pakatan Rakyat and had even defended DAP leaders who gave talks in the surau.
All that is over and the party is once again putting the religion up front and centre.
The holier-than-thou political tone is also back in fashion.
The Dewan Ulama muktamar was held in the hall of a religious school on the outskirts of Alor Setar but the media corps had to follow the debates from a boxy TV set in a small classroom that felt like a sauna in the afternoon heat.
A Dewan Ulama figure was unhappy about the attire of the media corps. He complained that the women journalists did not dress respectfully and that the men should at least wear a songkok.
One of them wanted to “save” Siti Kasim, the blonde-haired lawyer who dares to question the religion.
A tomboyish reporter from a Chinese vernacular paper was stopped from entering the ladies’ toilet and had to fish out her IC to prove her gender. Then, the ladies who stopped her wanted to know why she dressed like a boy.
The Dewan Ulama meetings used to be dominated by elderly men with knee and hearing problems and who loved to ramble on about preparing for the afterlife.
But the party has started to showcase its younger religious scholars who are well-educated and speak knowledgeably about religion and worldly issues.
They have their feet firmly planted in this world and even use English phrases in their debate, something quite unimaginable a few years ago. Among them is Kuala Nerus MP Dr Khairuddin Aman Razali who represents the new genre of PAS ulama.
He sits on the powerful Syura Council and his second wife is a multi-millionaire with a business in beauty products.
There has also been lots of bravado.
The party announced that it had finally filed a defamation suit against the Sarawak Report for publishing fake news that PAS received RM91mil from 1MDB.
The Dewan Pemuda caused a stir with the claim that PAS could win up to five states and would implement Islamic law in those states.
Very few people believe PAS can win that many states but after the RUU355 controversy, few people doubt the Islamic State goal of PAS.
According to a PAS official, the party knows it would be quite impossible to take five states or win 40 parliamentary seats.
However, the party is aiming to be the kingmaker in the event that neither side secures enough seats to form a government.