A re-branded PAS?Taken From The Sun
TAKEN collectively, three developments at PAS’s recent muktamar or general assembly have the potential to re-define Malaysian politics.
For the first time since 1983, an ulama (or religious leader) wasn’t retained or elected as deputy president, the second highest-ranked party official. The ulama also lost all three vice-presidential contests and reportedly won only six out of 18 central committee positions, which underscored the extent of the party’s makeover.
Equally notable, in his keynote speech at the muktamar, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang Hadi announced that the party now aspired to create a welfare state while maintaining it wasn’t abandoning its quest for an Islamic state.
Additionally in the same speech, Hadi rejected in the strongest terms the prospect of unity talks with Umno – a call which he described as "narrow communalism" – while reaffirming the party’s commitment to the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR). This suggests PAS is positioning itself for the possibility PR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may be found guilty of sodomy and his political activity curtailed.
That PAS’s newly-elected deputy president Mohamad Sabu forged a close relationship with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng while both were detained under the Internal Security Act in 1987 will enable both parties to work together without the need for Anwar as an intermediary.
All three developments are part of PAS’s
on-going efforts to broaden its electoral appeal. To date, its charm offensive includes its view the word "Allah" can be used by Christians and that Christians shouldn’t be denied their right to use bibles printed in Bahasa Malaysia – a stance at variance with some militant Muslim groups.
One indicator that reflects PAS’s attempts to woo Malaysian Chinese voters is former Perak mentri besar Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin singing Teresa Teng’s iconic song The moon represents my heart at ceramah. Although his singing may be off-key, Nizar’s brilliant gesture makes it easier for Malaysian Chinese to connect with PAS while reminding listeners the moon is also the party’s symbol.
Furthermore, in soliciting Malaysian Chinese support, PAS enjoys a singular advantage, because it has no business interests to protect or promote. PAS could be especially appealing to a significant segment of the Malaysian Chinese community.
Moreover, religion rather than language is PAS’s preferred priority. This gives it the option of adopting a more relaxed stand on Chinese schools and the use of Mandarin – yet another heartland issue for the Malaysian Chinese.
To be sure, PAS’s attempts to solicit greater support from non-Muslims could backfire. The opposition party could alienate Muslims who are a bigger voting bloc and are the majority in a majority of parliamentary constituencies.
Cynics may claim PAS’s charm offensive is a public relations exercise and that it could revert to its restrictive Islam-centric persona after the next general election. Even if PAS’s attempt to re-brand itself as a moderate Muslim party is opportunistic, its shift to the middle ground has been facilitated by Umno’s apparent willingness to cede this space.
One example – last month, Utusan Malaysia published a blogger’s claim that DAP together with Christian leaders were plotting to make Christianity this country’s official religion. This in turn prompted Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali to announce a crusade against Christians if they continued to challenge Islam’s position in Malaysia.
PAS leader Datuk Husam Musa immediately rebuked Perkasa, pointing out that using racial and religious issues for political interest showed the pressure group wasn’t upholding the true teachings of Islam. By taking up cudgels against Perkasa, Husam prevented the issue from degenerating into a religious conflict while burnishing PAS’s credentials as a moderate Islamic party.
Another example – a pressure group, Gaps, recently suggested only Malays and bumiputra have the right to receive Public Services Department (PSD) scholarships, a right it asserts is enshrined in the Malaysian constitution. While Prof Abdul Aziz Bari challenged this claim, no one from Umno appeared to do so.
Some Umno politicians suggest responding to Gaps and Perkasa will give them undue publicity and boost their stature. Nevertheless, allowing these groups to speak with impunity and without being sanctioned reinforces the perception, possibly mistaken, that their views are shared by Umno.
PAS’s strategic shift at the muktamar could alter the political contest between the party and Umno. In the past, Umno responded to PAS’s call for an Islamic state by successfully establishing Islamic banks and insurance companies within the country while achieving dominance in the global sukuk (or Islamic bond) market.
How will Umno respond to PAS’s strategic shift? Will it try to outbid PAS for the non-Malay, non-Muslim vote? Or will Umno persist in believing that to retain its hold on Putrajaya, securing the Malay-Muslim vote must be an overriding priority?
It's great to know that the communist hachetman in Perak, Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin had lost in the PAS party election. Congratulations for losing. Just denounce yourself as a PAS member and join DAP instead. Surely you can be a puppet menteri besar for DAP once again where DAP will be holding your strings.
The example given about Utusan publishing a blogger's claim that DAP together with Christian leaders were plotting to make Christianity this country's officail religion is true and nothing but the truth. In fact, it is an open secret though nobody wants to admit it openly.
Another thing is that PAS leaders are the hachetman for the communists as well. This can be proven when Datuk Husam Musa, PAS leader immediately rebuked Perkasa after Datuk Ibrahim Ali announced a crusade against the Christians if they continued to challenge Islam's position in Malaysia.
This proves that PAS are not championing Islam but merely using Islam as their stepping-stone to power. They will easily forget their previous stand to set up an Islamic state when they stood hand-in-hand with the satan in DAP and PKR.
PAS is not taking a strategic shift but instead are taking a thick-skulled move by now confirming its loyalty to DAP when the party election's had totally wiped out the 'ulama' in PAS.
Meanwhile, MCA's Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong had just proven that he is actually indirectly working with DAP when he brought up the issue of reviewing the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship issue which he said should be solely based on merit.
Well, the economy of this country is totally controlled by the Chinese, which means that the Chinese are the richest race in Malaysia, so why are you being so greedy that you want to take up all of those supposed to be allocated to the other races.
Moreover, I bet it's not that hard for the 8 out of the 10 richest people in Malaysia, who are Chinese, to help their own race. So, the question is, does MCA, Gerakan and DAP have a secret alliance to bring BN down? That is the question and by the looks of it, the answer is in the positive.
I doubt it that if the Chinese are in total control of the government, they will help the Malays. This had been proven by their bullying the Malays and systematically trying to chase them out of Penang.