Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Will Pakatan PASs the test?

Selena Tay

 | September 25, 2013
If PAS retreats from Pakatan, we will only be giving a lifeline to Umno, says Nik Aziz Nik Mat.
In a forum in Kedah on Sept 14, 2013, a small group of PAS leaders and members have called for a review of PAS’ ties with its coalition partners in Pakatan Rakyat.
Then on Sept 15, a Malay daily has the front-page headline ‘Pakatan Rugikan PAS?’ with the content highlighting Harun Taib’s (chief of Dewan Ulama) speech saying that PAS needs to review its ties with DAP and PKR.
Pertaining to the above matter, the interview below is the views of Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the PAS spiritual advisor.
These views were obtained via the assistance of the good office of Khalid Samad, the PAS Shah Alam MP and it deals at length with the issue of PAS in Pakatan.
Commenting on Harun Taib’s statement, Nik Aziz stressed that the co-operation with DAP and PKR was not decided upon by only a few individuals in PAS but was a collective decision by the PAS top leadership and reinforced in the PAS Muktamar in 2009.
He added that he certainly does not see this decision as a wrong one because being in Pakatan has enabled PAS to move forward in the Malaysian political scenario.
In addition to that, PAS can present the true face of Islam to the non-Muslims in a way that Umno has never done before.
“Umno not only hinders the non-Muslims from understanding Islam but also hinders the Muslims themselves from understanding their own religion. Umno’s weapon is racism, the Umno symbol is the unsheathed keris and their politics is of the style of the street gangs.
“This being the case, the non-Muslims will fail to see the beauty of Islam when it is presented by Umno,” remarked the former Menteri Besar of Kelantan for 23 years, adding that in Pakatan, PAS’ Islamic approach has never been opposed.
He also informed this columnist that even top DAP leaders frequently come to his office for a discussion on noble Islamic values. And these DAP leaders are also knowledgeable in Islamic law and terminology.
In his view, PAS must move forward and the experience of over 60 years as an Islamic movement has taught PAS that to stay relevant in the Malaysian political scene, PAS must understand the political situation and must learn to accept principles that are friendly to Islamic jurisprudence.
Therefore PAS members must not enslave PAS in their own mind. As a party that bears the name of Islam in its struggle, it is compulsory for PAS to present Islam well to all Malaysians.
“It cannot be denied that PAS wants to win in the general elections. But PAS is more than that as it is also incumbent upon PAS to be a missionary on the political stage. PAS being in Pakatan is never a wrong decision but in fact a very good decision according to the reality of Malaysian politics,” commented the current state assemblyman for Chempaka in Kelantan.
Giving lifeline to Umno
Nik Aziz also hopes that every PAS member will resolve to strengthen the party.
“And in connection with reviewing PAS’ ties with its coalition partners in Pakatan, by all means we can do so but only with the purpose of strengthening these ties. If we retreat then we are only giving a lifeline to Umno,” concluded the party spiritual leader.
Wise words indeed from him – the perfect execution of the flying blade done with finesse and panache. Not only does PAS need Nik Aziz at the helm but more importantly so do DAP and PKR.
According to this columnist’s political analyst friend, if PAS joins Barisan Nasional, then Umno can totally ignore the non-Malay voters. But as long as PAS is still with Pakatan, then Umno will still need votes from the non-Malays.
And this is why that although PAS seems to be the weakest link in Pakatan with only 21 seats compared to DAP with 38 and PKR with 30, PAS is in fact the strongest in Pakatan.
According to Khalid Samad, “Umno has failed in breaking up Pakatan. Umno will always target PAS for attack because in every election, it is mostly PAS candidates who will be contesting against Umno’s candidates.”
“Therefore if PAS is weak, Umno will have it easy in the hustings. That is the reason why Umno will always try to weaken PAS by telling the Malays that PAS is the lackey of DAP.”
Khalid also mentioned that PAS being in Pakatan has benefitted the country’s political climate by enhancing the two-coalition concept.
“Although PAS’ total of 21 seats in parliament was two less than the 23 it obtained in year 2008, the two seats of Titiwangsa (lost by 866 votes) and Kuala Selangor (lost by 460 votes) were lost due to advanced voting and definitely not Pakatan’s fault,” surmised Khalid.
Likewise the lost of Kedah was due to the enemy’s malicious propaganda on former menteri besar, Azizan Abdul Razak’s ill health and had nothing to do with DAP or PKR.
Khalid adds that he concurs with the stand of Nik Aziz, Hadi Awang (PAS president and Marang MP) and Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PAS Information Chief) to remain in Pakatan.
Selena Tay is a DAP member and a FMT columnist.

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