Sunday, June 05, 2011

Full text of speech by Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang

The following is the full text of the presidential address delivered by Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang at the opening of the 57th PAS Muktamar, June 3, 2011.

Developing a Benevolent Nation


I welcome you all and let this muktamar proceed smoothly, and to all the delegates and guests who have come to make this an occasion, this year this building has undergone a total facelift symbolizing a new milestone in PAS’ history. Let us with full confidence seek Allah’s grace and compassion as well as multiple rewards as a result of our conviction in the basis and objective of our struggle.

We started our struggle on a true path with a history of its own. PAS was established by the Islamic group that sustained its identity throughout the ages with the involvement of the ulama and the scholars in every field as well as the people all committed to continue the Islamic struggle which will not cease with the demise of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu wa alayhi wassalam, peace and blessings be upon him).

This is what we have repeatedly emphasized – that we are not just a political party, but are also an Islamic movement characterized by tarbiah (moulding of the Islamic character) and da’wah (missionary zeal), which are tied to ibadah (worship) and amanah (trust) from Allah.

We believe that our involvement in PAS is to fill our lives with righteous deeds that spread continuous good and to hope for Allah’s forgiveness as well as His help since we have committed ourselves to His Call and continued the struggle of the Messenger (saw) and the Righteous ones as has been stated by Allah:
O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty? That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the Supreme Achievement. And another (favour will He bestow,) which ye do love,- help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give the Glad Tidings to the Believers. (Meaning of Qur'an, 61:10-13)

Emphasizing PAS's role

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every PAS member must hold fast to Islam, have faith and practice good in a continuous manner and when we take political action this must be guided by the Quran, since that is what has been ordained in the Holy Book that is our Guide. We have decided in our Constitution that it is the Quran, the Sunnah, the Consensus of the Ulama and qias that guide us. In order to preserve our integrity as an Islamic party, we have formed the Ulama Shura Council to monitor us to ensure that we are always on the right path with full commitment.

Our role is to spread the message of Islam in a practical way to all of mankind, carry out da’wa as well as take political action in order to translate the justice as embodied in the Sharia of Allah to all of creation and to mankind irrespective of colour, creed or origin, beginning from this world to the next. This is what has been proclaimed by Allah:
We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. (21:107)

During the entire period of our existence, we have been the most experienced party in politics having gone through several phases or situations; from being opposition with a solitary seat, going on to becoming a state government, joining the federal government in a coalition and without a single seat, being on our own, or joining a coalition government and implementing tahaluf siyasi (political cooperation).

This political cooperation undertaken by PAS has become a component of the fiqh (science) of Political Islam which is obligatory for PAS leaders to learn and then educate the people in order that the people would be able to understand the difference between the cooperation PAS has forged with components in the Pakatan Rakyat with the type of cooperation that is existent in Umno-led BN, which sacrifices the basic principles and destroys the Islamic character amongst the Muslim Malays as well as sidelining true Islam.

We are the party that moves forward imbibing all these experiences. All along our machinery has been moving on the true path of Islam. We will not alter the objective of our struggle come what may, and it is obvious that this vehicle remains stable and safe despite all tribulations to this day.

Have faith that we are the ones who embody the characteristics of Islam amongst the larger ummah, party or group as mentioned by Allah:

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity. (3:104)

These are the characteristics of the Islamic group, that is, (1) call to the path of righteous work, (2) command to that that is good and (3) prevent evil deeds. We have been implementing all of these to the extent that it reaches its pinnacle with the establishment of the nation based on Islamic principles by way of the Islamic jurisprudence of maqasid shariah (higher objectives of the Shariah) and siasah shar'iyahh (politics based on shariah).

PAS has chosen the democratic path because we act according to muwajahah silmiyyah (peaceful opposition), whether we win and form government, or become Opposition or just carry out open protest wherever such space is available. In order to implement this, the right approach is necessary in order to re-orient Malay society which has been deviated onto the path of narrow racialism and removed from the true path of Islam.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The theme of the Muktamar

This muktamar is being held on the eve of the 13th general election which may be held anytime now. This election is going to be a crucial one for us. Therefore it is timely that we reaffirm the concept and objective of overall benevolence in the type of administration we hope for, that is administer this multi racial country together with our partners in the Pakatan Rakyat.

Such a lofty ideal has made us choose this year’s theme to be “Developing A Benevolent Nation”. This is in tandem with PAS’ struggle that is based on righteous deeds, where all of our efforts so far have been for this purpose, and when Allah bestows us victory, it must be for implementing righteous deeds.

This theme is founded on our belief that Islam as is understood by us is perfect that encompasses all aspects of life, spiritual, physical, individual, family and society, the relationship with Allah, other human beings and creatures. Islam that is a whole way of life covering politics, economics, education, society and so on.

Though we may differ on some matters of principle or on concepts with our partners, yet there are so many similarities in the aspect of administration of multi-ethnic society. Although we differ on matters of halal and haram, but we concur on matters of justice for all and opposing evil, tyranny and deviations such as corruption. This is the cooperation we work for with our partners in Pakatan Rakyat to bring about the change agenda.

This speech outlines the general policy and philosophy that is line with Islam. Thus understanding the concept of benevolence and its objective is very important for us, so that whatever we plan as our agenda will be implemented and would be further detailed by the party machinery at all levels from time to time.

The concept of benevolence

In explaining this overall concept of benevolence, the leadership of a benevolent nation would be from those who are knowledgeable and God-fearing. Islam has made it incumbent that politics is for the Prophets and their loyal followers. The Prophet (saw) says:

"The Children of Israel before who became political leaders among them were Prophets. After every Prophet’s demise would come another Prophet. Verily, there won’t be a Prophet after me, but there would be the Caliphs who would do my job and would be aplenty"

The Companions asked: “What do you command us to do?”

The Prophet said: “Pledge loyalty to the first among them, and those following him. Give them what is due. Verily Allah will ask of them over what had been given them”

Islam has tied down the nation’s leadership on a foundation based on iman (faith). Allah says:

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. (4:59)

This is the leadership qualified to lead and which is able to discharge its trust, called the ulil amri, which sees politics as righteous work, not as an opportunity for him and his cronies. It is not the type that sees religion as prayers on Friday, on prayer mats or during haj and umrah and with the organizing of Quran reciting competitions or processions during the Prophet’s birthday. And then religion is deemed not to include politics or the administration of the state, to the point that they themselves elect leaders who are corrupt, and who obtain the support of the people through corrupt and underhand ways. They then can do anything that goes against Islam.

We don’t just theorize since our leaders hold the reins of administration in some of the states. A leadership that is free of corruption, transparent, careful and fair to all is the testimony of the capability of the PAS leadership as witnessed in Kelantan for more than two decades and now in Kedah, besides those in Terengganu and Perak before this.

Whereas politics that is based on Islam accepts that there would be multi-ethnic societies, while preserving the right to freedom of religion to followers of the various religions, and these are protected by an administration that practices the principle of check and balance.

Allah says:

Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will). (22:41)

The principle that “the misdeeds of a section of men is countered by other men” is the essence of check and balance emphasized by Islam. This is to preserve harmony on the earth: harmony of economy, the self and safe from destruction. This has been proclaimed by Allah in al-Baqarah, verse 251:
And did not Allah Check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief: But Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds.

The government in turn is the trustee of the resources of the nation. It is obligated to discharge this trust justly and wealth must not be allowed to circulate amongst the rich and those in power only. Allah says:
What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships,- belongs to Allah,- to His Messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; In order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the Messenger assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you. And fear Allah. for Allah is strict in Punishment. (59:7)

This concept is translated to the benevolent nation with a broad meaning which encompasses everything, since Islam accepts these as acts of righteousness that would be considered on the Day of Judgment, not just as good acts on this world alone.

The objectives of a benevolent nation

In this type of nation, the government takes responsibility for the provision of all basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, health needs, and education and so on. PAS must remove the culture of obtaining revenue by way of burdening the people which is the hallmark of the Umno-BN government, to the extent of stamping upon the peace enjoyed by people. The ordinary folk who carry out trade have to compete with a government that also goes into similar trading activities. The government that goes into business through GLCs will divide the profits amongst its cronies, whereas the losing concerns will be burdened upon the government. This finally forces the government to pass the burden on to the people by way of taxes that make life difficult for the ordinary folk. In the end these GLCs will lose their competitiveness because of becoming dependent on the government for assistance.

Islam does not want a government to burden the people by imposing high taxes or forced taxes. For example zakah is made obligatory upon Muslims while the non-Muslims pay taxes that do not burden them. The government should also not prevent people from becoming rich through halal (legal) means, and who do not cheat, nor oppress nor be corrupt.

PAS believes that the nation’s income does not accrue by way of burdening the people by raising taxes or causing the prices of essential goods to rise. PAS believes that social justice that is based on benevolence upon the people and fair practice will reward us by increasing the nation’s coffers.

Thus PAS has implemented a part of this concept of a benevolent nation in those states that it administers, based on resources available to it as in Kelantan and Kedah and before this in Terengganu and Perak. It is being introduced in the other Pakatan Rakyat states of Penang and Selangor where PAS is part of the administration there.

PAS together with its Pakatan Rakyat partners has introduced this benevolent nation concept through the “Orange Book” that has been launched. In reality, a part of what is found in this book has already been implemented in the states that we have administered, as in the abolishment of road tolls, cancelling of taxes that burdened the people and making it accessible for facilities to reach every citizen under its administration.

We have shown our capability to govern well as exemplified in the 20-year rule of Kelantan and for shorter periods in other states where we have achieved physical development that others would have not be able to fathom. What more now, we are ever more confident in ruling the country because the nation’s resources would not be lost through corrupt activities, extravagance and waste.

The benevolent nation that we want to strive for would not be just one that would focus on economic prosperity alone while the spiritual aspect is neglected.

This nation that we want would also be targeting spiritual and personal development that would be linked to religion and which would guide the lives of the people who are under us. The happiness index which we hope for should also take into account the multi-religious nature of our country. We want to see happy families that are able to resist moral decay and preserve character.

A benevolent nation would also ensure that its laws educate the people, not frighten them by way of punishment. The BN has made the laws of the country as a means to rob the people as shown in the saman ekor (postal traffic summons) controversy which was not for the education of the people to abide by the law.

Under Islamic jurisprudence, an accused is not guilty and must be given adequate protection and opportunity for a defence. A judge will seek ways as to how to release the person, not seek ways on how to get him/her punished. Islam encourages a person who is guilty to seek forgiveness from Allah, hence it seeks an out of court settlement.

One who is guilty will not just face punishment on earth, but will also face retribution in the grave and in the afterlife if the person does not seek Allah’s forgiveness and is freed by the court. Islam proves that there is peace when there is justice, not by way of frightening the people through oppressive laws.

Islam encourages the formation of a benevolent society that exudes brotherhood and neighbourliness in order to carry out good deeds that overtakes the government’s efforts so that it attains Allah’s rewards. However, Umno-BN has destroyed this characteristic where the building of mosques, welfare homes and so on, is just to garner political support from the people as a form of political corruption.

In order to implement the gist of this theme, PAS would want to take steps that would correct wrong perceptions, correct the administration of the economy and henceforth lead the people towards change for the good. These would not be possible if we do not have dedicated activists and a strong organization, forward-looking planning and continuous enhancement and monitoring from time to time.

The agenda to correct the misperception

Ladies and gentlemen,

PAS has succeeded somewhat in reducing the perception that politics has no connection to religion amongst the Malay Muslims. This deviant teaching has produced Malay leaders who would not take into account religion in the political administration of the country and then commit treachery when in a leadership position while managing the resources of the nation.

Although many Malay Muslims have accepted that politics is a part of religion, yet some of the political action in recent times reflect the non-adherence to religious and sharia principles. Politics has been marred by such dirty actions as political corruption, slander, racism, lies and every other filthy act that pollutes very young minds. Such politics needs to be cleansed, and of course Umno-BN will fail to do it because they are the ones who are responsible for it.

These Malay leaders have deviated the majority of the Muslims and are not examples for Islam for the non-Muslims as well due to their moral decadence, tyranny, corruption and abuse of power to the point that they have failed to implement the trust that Islam has entrusted upon all Muslims. Allah says:
Allah commands you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; And when ye judge between man and man, that ye judge with justice: Verily how excellent is the teaching which He giveth you! For Allah is He Who heareth and seeth all things.

On the political stage in our country, Umno is the major Malay-Bumiputera party that has been entrusted with power since independence. Yet it continues the cancer of separating religion from politics inherited from the colonialists. Hence, this trust has been sacrificed to make way for opportunity to rob this nation of its wealth that eventually leaves the ordinary citizens having to struggle hard to live a decent life.

This is the result when the administration and management of the nation’s wealth is not based on the philosophy or objectives of Islam. Hope for the establishment of a successful and peaceful nation has been dashed by an administration that is irresponsible.

The Malay Muslims who form the core of our political set up are day by day weakened internally because of their weak understanding of Islam, especially when Islam is not the religion that administers the nation and as a model for the multi-ethnic society. Thus PAS is obligated to save this nation and the Muslims who are apparently lost as well as correcting this wrong notion of Islam.

At the same time, Umno is just holding on to power and not strengthening the Malays based on Islam, because the Umno Malay will still support BN even in areas where PAS contests against MCA and MIC candidates, whereas many committed non-Malays and non-Muslims vote for PAS candidates in areas where MCA and MIC candidates contest against the PAS candidate. In reality, Umno has made some Malay Muslims blind as a result of money politics and excessive entertainment that has made them weak and in a state of stupor.

Allah has proved that any nation that holds on fast to Islam will be a nation that leads, even if that nation is raised in an arid land devoid of resources. Conversely, Muslims from any race that abandons Islam, despite being large in number or very rich, become ruiners, oppressors and become weak, henceforth disqualify to be leaders leading to destruction although they may be a world power.

Thus it becomes our most important responsibility to continuously spread the true message of Islam to all the people while bringing back the ignorant Muslims to the truth and free them from the political myth created by Umno that only they (Umno) can administer the country.

It is mandatory for PAS to save the country and people from the disease of ignorance and political tyranny in response to Allah’s reminder:
If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (All kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds. Did the people of the towns feel secure against the coming of Our wrath by night while they were asleep? Or else did they feel secure against its coming in broad daylight while they played about (care-free)? Did they then feel secure against the plan of Allah.- but no one can feel secure from the Plan of Allah, except those (doomed) to ruin! (7: 96-99)

Remember that disaster can come about as a result of what Man does with his own hands, that is, running a country in an oppressive way. Suffice that we have to go through price increases of essential goods, suffer from poverty and unemployment, rising crime and debauchery, untold diseases and an environment that is destroyed. All these negative developments are a curse that destroys us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Reforming the economy

In facing the economic crisis, PAS would like to stress that the management of the nation’s economy must be founded upon the principle of bringing prosperity to all of humankind, in tandem with Man’s role as the vicegerent of God on Earth. This is a trust that must be fulfilled not just because we have been elected by the people but because it is the responsibility of a leadership towards Allah.

PAS would like to emphasize that based on this principle, a government must show it operates on it, not just by introducing policies but more importantly show it in the delivery system. This is to ensure that the distribution of economic wealth among the people is fair irrespective of race, creed or political alignment.

What we witness today is the exact opposite of the management based on Islam that prescribes that what is of priority comes first in the scheme of things (fiqh-al-awlawiyya)- the most important before what is important.

This type of economic management will prevent the nation from ‘wasteful’ expenditure based on the priority scale. What would be the priority – build the RM5 billion Menara Warisan building or invest that amount on basic necessities like education, electricity and water supply, health needs and public transport?

The BN does not understand all these since it does not base its thinking on Islam. Conversely, its administrative zeal is to enrich a certain group that has strong connections to the political elite.

This is really what has happened and lends credence to reports of scandals involving mega projects – the RM12.5 billion PKFZ fiasco and the additional RM 1 billion in costs for the Bakun Dam project. That also includes the National palace project that has hiked to RM 1 billion! The nation’s wealth will be squandered away if Umno-BN continues to remain in power, considering further that many projects utilizing the peoples’ money are just for apple-polishing the elite.

Some time ago our nation was recognized by the World Bank as amongst the wealthiest in terms of per capita income but today we have lost our competitiveness and are burdened by massive debt. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, regional growth is imbalanced, inflation is rising, prices of essential goods have become so high burdening ordinary folk,; causing the cost of living to go up while income has become trapped in the “middle income” group. Currently Malaysia faces slow growth at 4.6% in the first quarter compared to 10.1% for the same period last year.

PAS together with its Pakatan Rakyat partners has proposed a solution to the economic problem that we are facing in the form of the Orange Book. The 100-day program that we have proposed with our partners is no illusion but is our promise to the people in the event the administration of the country is taken over by us.

Our belief for transformation of the economy is that “Economic Transformation” will only be possible if a government also implements “Political Reform”. This is in line with the Islamic precept that economic matters are tied to politics; in fact, morality and ethical behavior are guided by the concept of reward and punishment according to the Shariah.

We are confident that PAS with its Pakatan Rakyat partners if given the mandate to administer this country will ensure that democracy is practiced as it should be, thus bringing back the confidence of the people to the critical institutions of state, hence bringing about transparency and accountability in a good administration. This will cause economic activities and investments to move forward in an attractive eco-system.

This will then create healthy competition and encourage faster competitiveness through increased productivity and innovation. Productivity in turn depends on the level of education and the freedom to write and this begins with recognition of the educators.

The same goes to the re-structuring of Felda Plantations for the purpose of uplifting the settlers so that they become owner-enterpreneur who are competitive and to ensure that their right to property is protected. This would also include a special program for the farmers, fishermen and labourers in the various sectors and government employees who altogether form the core of the nation’s economy. We will not enslave the people in order to drive the economic development of the nation.

Agenda for leadership to implement Islah (Reform)

PAS will together with Pakatan Rakyat initiate the agenda for reform as agreed in the document ‘Policy with Pakatan Rakyat’. This has been discussed and agreed to by PAS. It requires a paradigm shift in democratisation, a wholistic system in governance and administration of the country on the basis of ‘islah’. This change will be meaningless if it does not involve a spiritual reformation and ‘independent’ thinking on the part of the people.

We are all aware that the so-called democracy we have has been crippled by the greed of UMNO/BN which wants to perpetuate its power. Even so, up to now, we have always adopted a peaceful, democratic approach. We have patiently waited despite their attempts to destroy us in an immoral, unethical way which is against the basis of the Constitution.

The people get only the opportunity to vote with the old system which is extremely weak, with closed minds, restricted opportunity and which is not transparent. The people cannot be fair judges as required by true democracy. Democracy does not merely mean the casting of votes. The practice of democracy demands that the people have access to information from all parties and nominated candidates via a free media.

What is happening is that the people are being shortchanged as they being fed one-sided information only, when the ruling BN uses the government’s communication channels, enters every longhouse all the time as well as during election campaigning, whereas the other parties and candidates are given very limited opoortuites to campaign, tight regulations and are oppressed by threats. They therefore are not able to defend themselves against all the accusations and allegations hurled against them by BN.

The people are not exposed to the truth as the media is only interested in their own survival, instead of of being sincere in their efforts to inform. Allah SWT has severely critisised the practice of duping the people, as done by the Pharoah. Allah SWT says in the Quran:

And Pharaoh proclaimed among his people, saying: "O my people! Does not the dominion of Egypt belong to me, (witness) these streams flowing underneath my (palace)? What! see ye not then?
"Am I not better than this (Moses), who is a contemptible wretch and can scarcely express himself clearly?
"Then why are not gold bracelets bestowed on him, or (why) come (not) with him angels accompanying him in procession?"
Thus did he make fools of his people, and they obeyed him: truly were they a people rebellious (against Allah)
(43: 51-54)

Any government or leader will not last if they are cruel and dishonest. In the end, they will have an ignominous fall in this world and of course in the Hereafter, they will be most disgraced. This we have seen happening in history, both modern and ancient. Thus many leaders of mature democracies gracefully withdraw or step down or readily accept the peoples’ decision.

Islam orders its ummah to fight cruelty and has made jihad the most preferred action. The Prophet (saw) has said: "The best jihad is to speak the word of truth to a tyrant leader"

PAS will continue its campaign and ensure that the peoples’ aspirations for a true democracy in the election process will be realised through the measures put in place by the party machinery, including getting the members to openly voice their protests together with NGOs who wish to see a fairer and more transparent system in our country.

PAS also champions fair and responsible freedom of speech and free media. PAS will continue to press for the abolition of all laws which are restrictive on the media such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

PAS is also committed to fight for the abolition of all Acts which are draconian and which are being abused like the ISA, and will adopt a new’islah’ which will restore the integrity of the important institutions like the Anti-Corruption Agency, Attorney General’s Office, and the Police Force. This ‘islah’ will not only require a change in system but also of the mindset and spiritual change in the human beings implementing the change.

Cooperation with PAS also pledge to correct the twisted concept of federalism as practised by UMNO/BN currently, especially to solidify the spirit of federalism and maintaining equitable ties between the states, particularly Sabah and Sarawak and the Federation.

The 13th General Election

Within the first year of the current session, we faced four by-elections which PAS contested, at Galas, Tenang, Merlimau and Kerdau and in the latest 10th State Assembly Elections Sarawak held in April, we worked together with PAS Sarawak. Congratulations to all manning our election machinery for a work well done.

Even though we did not win in every single one of the by-elections and the Sarawak State Assembly elections, we managed to widen our sphere of influence and established new PAS branches. We must know that success is not only measured in terms of winning elections. Even if we were to lose the nomination deposit but we are able to convince just one person to belive in our cause, this is success because we are guided by the Prophet's hadith:

"Behold! Even if you succeeded to bring only a single person to God's guidance, the reward is greater than the most expensive vehicle."

Now we are facing the all the indications of an ever-nearing 13th. General Elections. No matter when the actual date may be, I hereby direct that as soon as our Muktamar is over, all our election machinery must be put in place for the General Elections. At our Election Department, strategic and tactical plans will be developed and we must mobilise ourselves by opening up ‘bilik gerakan’ and carrying out the activities to garner support of the people. ILPAS must move on to the second phase to be the core trainers of all the party’s workers at various levels.

At the same time, all Wings and activities of PAS Branches must have at least a 70% focus towards programmes to approach the sections of the electorate who are still waiting to meet with PAS as well as the fence-sitters, who have yet to make up their minds who they will vote for in the general elections.

The people and systems at the UPU level must drastically change their role which will continue to increase in importance as they are the ones daily in close contact with the voters in the smallest unit in the system of our general elections. They must get to know all the voters in their areas as well as they know their own relatives.

All party workers must adopt eloquent language, wisdom and patience in the efforts to garner the support of the voters. Approach the voters who are around you personally so our message is made clear to them and is accepted by the. Open lectures may sometimes be more for our members only.

Today, let us pledge to defend our states of Kelantan and Kedah as well as Selangor and Penang which we have jointly administered, with all our sweat and tears.Let our spirits soar high and let us be fully energised. We will defend to the uttermost the successes we have so far achieved, Insha Allah.

Challenges facing the 'Ulama

The ‘ulama’ are the most influential leaders of the Muslim communities. Despite this, most have not applied the fiqh of political Islam as there still those supporting UMNO/BN because they have failed to understand current politics in the light of Islamic thinking. This is a result of being bred in a weak system of Islamic eduation, not understanding history, especially the scenario of the birth of madhabs and groups that deviated in the areas of faith and Shariah, which is already in history.

They are also the ones who fail to understand ideologies and modern theories which are in conflict with Islam, thereby being entrapped by such ideologies and theories. Thus they have the ‘knowledge’ but not the understanding resulting in their possessing the knowledge but not knowing the right path, as expressed in the hadith:
"The one whom Allah willed for him a lot of goodness, Allah makes him knowledgeable in the Religion."

There are ‘ulama’ out there who do not understand the obligation of being in a jamaah (group/organisation) and only that jamaah which upholds the teachings of Allah SWT and continues with the legacies of all the Rasuls who preached as well as governed their nations. They forget the Prophet’s advice to Huzaifah bin Al Yaman, for the need to safeguard oneself from following any group that exhorts to Hell.

Therefore, members of the Ulama Wing must face those ‘ulama’ who remain mute despite seeing evil right in front of them. At the very least, they should attempt to restrain evil by either speaking out against it or writing about it. Instead, by remaining silent, they will be part of the group which Allah SWT has mentioned :

Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,-on them shall be Allah.s curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse. (2: 159)

To confront this challenge, the Ulama Wing has to gather together as many members as possible to form a jamaah with PAS, because the ‘ulama’ are the ones with the greater responsibility for this task. The Ulama Wing's efforts to create a corps of young ‘ulama’ is very important to safeguard and continue the striving for Islam, and they are the most influential leaders of the people.

Members of the Ulama Wing who work day and night teaching the community, must understand the approach to create awareness of politics as it should be practised in Islam in a way that will attract their attention, not merely teaching to share the knowledge but rather to ensure that they are awakened to the danger of current thinking. This is the role of the ‘ulama’ as mentioned by Allah:

Nor should the Believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them,- that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil). (9:122)

The Ulama Wing’s role has to be extended to include a programme of teaching about current affairs which daily gets more complex so people have access to such information. Other than this, all members of the Ulama Wing should equip themselves with management, administrative and contemporary communication skills so that their presence in the community and in the government of the states we administer, will confer manifold benefits.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Challenges facing the Youth

The younger generation are also the hope of the ummah and will inherit the struggle; they are also the target of the enemy. Umno-BN would like to see this generation wallowing in ignorance, insensitive, poor and unemployed so that they will become Umno-BN supporters, even if just as cheerleaders despite having to lose everything else.

Change through democracy today can occur when there is change amongst those whose vote is decisive as new voters are among the youth. This is the majority group and will be the decisive voters in the next election. Thus, the Youth Wing must go to them and organize activities that will take them away from the destructive activities promoted by Umno-BN, activities that are hedonistic in nature and which are aimless, allowing them to be jobless and becoming poor so that then they can be bought over for political support.

The Youth Wing’s role is to effectively capture the hearts and minds of this group, through proper communication techniques, and with the right approach that is in consonance with the character of youth as active, healthy and spirited so that these are then made to promise thme a better future and to save the nation through reform (islah).

The establishment of the Youth Leadership Academy six years ago should also see a wider role for the youth. This would be by way of creating training programs for the youth out there.

Challenges facing the Muslimat Wing

Women are the ones who provide education to the family. They produce a credible ummah from a righteous family. We are witnessing how there is a mental onslaught on the family as a flood that is impossible to stop. It is timely that the Muslimah partake in the fardu ‘ain jihad which has been mentioned in the fiqh books because the dangers posed by this attack on the minds is much worse upon society.

The women are the ones who are more easier prey to the media outlets that visit their homes and influence her family members. They are the fortresses at home and important movers outside home in society. All this while too the Muslimah all over the country have gone down to the grassroots – the voters – and have faced challenges that have not been faced by the Muslimin (men).

The woman’s vote is no different from that of a man in a democracy. In many constituencies there are large concentrations of women voters and could be the biggest chunk therein, thus becoming decisive in determining a win. They too have many new voters. Yes, the Muslimah have gone down to the people but a re-examination of its machinery would be proper considering the new challenges facing them in the quest to change the government. This would be based on new guidelines and effective activities.

The Muslimat Wing needs a lot of workers who can become part of its machinery. Since its inception, PAS has provided much space for its women members to the extent of putting them up as election candidates, members of the State Executive Council and active Opposition activists in Federal and State legislatures.

The Muslimat should strengthen their inner selves based on the party’s principles and must be able to manage the family as well as able to sacrifice time for societal work in a fair manner. Their husbands and fathers must understand their situation and help them to persevere.

The Muslimat must also be able to go down to the field and become friendly with the “unfortunate group” from broken homes, single mothers, women, teenagers and abandoned children. The Muslimah must provide “welfare service”: raise awareness about a happy family so that these “unfortunate group” women get care and protection from all members of the family, the authorities, their husbands, guardians and society.

The Muslimat should also establish a “Shelter” for these “unfortunate groups”, where they will obtain religious knowledge as well as other academic courses. Besides they should also establish a one-stop centre for receiving complaints, as a place of reference and providing advice for any problem as well as a “Women’s Vocational Centre” to imbibe skills and career advice so that they are able to seek out jobs and are able to obtain a decent income.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The PAS Supporters Wing

With the removal of the barrier between us and the non-Muslim community, it has been proven that they have given their full support to us. In many of the elections they have given their contributions – as election workers who have worked for a win. We have decided to expand their role as they are very important for PAS to achieve victory.

We must be aware of the multi racial nature of our country. We must spread our message without forcing religion as Islam is fair to all to the extent that they have faith in us to bring about change. They observe how we externalize Islam as it should be and correct Islam’s image that has been corrupted by Umno.

Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence) has given space for non-Muslims in administration as loyal citizens, as cabinet members and part of the government machinery that proves the practicality of Islam. The establishment of the PAS Supporters Wing also proves that what PAS is striving for is far more relevant than that brought by BN.

I fervently hope that the PAS Supporters Wing will play its role in disseminating PAS’ objectives and aspirations as well as convince the non-Muslims that PAS will always voice out what is hoped for by the people and is able to realize their aspirations.

The role of the Lajnahs (Sub-committees)

Every Lajnah in PAS is duty bound to implement the party’s agenda founded upon and aimed at Islam. It should implement all programs without delay and must gear itself to introduce Islam to the people based on their respective fields as well as strengthen the party while out of government and preparing itself to work when we take over the government.

The involvement of the experts in various fields has been with us since our inception and this shows how we never have separated them from the ulama. This is PAS’ history; a part of Muslim history since the golden era and which has been sustained even during the time of colonialism and tyranny.

Some of these Lajnah are internally-focussed as in the case of the Tarbiyyah (Training) Lajnah. This Lajnah is geared towards internal training of the members to prepare them as strong individuals ready to face challenges, increase their sense of commitment as well as knowledge resulting in PAS emerging as a model political party. This Lajnah must also design new modules that will train the members on the right approach to a multi-racial and multi-religious society out there.

Then there are these lajnahs that are outward-focussed such as the Information, Welfare, legal, Workers, Cultural, Land and Settlers’ and other lajnahs as well as that which looks into international matters. All the Lajnahs must benefit from the expertise that is available amongst the large pool of members that is existent now. They are like the building blocks that are neatly arranged. Allah says:

Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure. (61:4)

I would also like to these Lajnah in PAS through the activists going down to the people, understanding the local culture, concerned over their welfare, becoming the prime movers and able to resolve conflicts that are gripping members of society. If we want change towards a more informed politics, then we are all duty bound to be change agents who provide information to the people.

In order to achieve this, every Lajnah from the Central to those at the state and area level must fix their targets, plan strategically and monitor results from time to time. All these should begin at the start of the new session, informed at committee meetings for the purpose of coordination so that we do not just put up ad hoc programs that are meant to fill up our annual reports on the eve of our annual general meetings.

Ladies and gentlemen,

PAS's role at the international level

The geopolitical situation and international conflicts are at the crossroads of change. Many international developments have taken place over the past year. The wave of change currently going on is very unique and is affecting the political equation in the entire world, Malaysia included.

In West Asia, unknown by others, all of a sudden the people of several countries have arisen in the hundreds of thousands mainly from the youth and demonstrated on the streets to demand freedom and democracy which had been denied them for such a long time and have been successful in overthrowing tyrannical regimes oppressing them for so long. Politicians from the Opposition had been banned from active politics and no form of criticism of the regime was allowed. The tyranny perpetrated over decades reached its climax when the regime killed or imprisoned the ulama, scholars and journalists.

The question is whether this uprising by the people in West Asia will become a lesson for similar tyrannical regimes elsewhere which deny their citizens their basic rights and freedom as is also the case in our country?

In this respect we wish to remind the Barisan Nasional government that when those in power deny democracy, loot the country’s finances and oppress the people, then such an uprising from the people would take place. The episode that has and is taking place in West Asia proves that tension between the regime and the people is caused by the regime itself.

PAS will continue to raise these issues of injustice and struggle against oppression at the international level – whether by way of memoranda or dialogues, demonstrations, international fora such as the Muktamar al-Quds, the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (CAPP), the Conference of Muslim Parliamentarians and so on. PAS will also continue to contribute to a more peaceful and just world.

In this region, PAS will continue to stand up for the Muslims of Southern Philippines and Southern Thailand. We will continue to approach these problems by way of “humanitarian means” and “diplomacy” in order to seek ways to resolve the problems in these two regions. This has been proven by PAS as in the case when the PAS leadership have been involved for such a long time in voicing out our views and advice to the leaders who were at loggerheads, to the extent that peace was finally achieved in Aceh.

PAS would like to re-emphasize that our main international commitment is the liberation of the al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine which is the Muslims’ first qibla. We would also like to emphasize that if peace in the world is to be achieved, the United States and its allies must immediately leave Muslim lands like Afghanistan and Iraq. Peace in the world will only be realized when the tyranny of the Zionist regime upon the Palestinians stops and the Palestinians’ right to their land and nation is fulfilled immediately.

Muhasabah (Self-reflection)

Come, let us together reflect into ourselves, from the top leadership to those on the field, because there is bound to be weaknesses, improper management that would need fresh action. PAS members must evaluate success and achievements and not just do this after elections. The Holy Prophet (saw) has told the Muslim activists to choose the path of peace first.

Allah promises victory twice to those who commit jihad to establish religion on the erath. Victory in the Hereafter that is permanent and victory in this world because of being able establish rule based on religion. We need become unnecessarily perturbed over attacks from our enemies or those who do not understand.

This is the secret of PAS’ resilience which is not weakened throughout its history, unlike some others who have become history or just too weak to carry on, when they lose or when their leader dies. In our case, we will persevere.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Leadership's message

This muktamar is being held together with an election of its leaders at the highest level. Hence, all delegates must remember that the choice of leaders must be based on the trust placed upon us by Islam which is our basic foundation and our objective.

Thus it must be guided by the trust as explained by the Messenger of Allah (saw):
"O 'Abdur-Rahman bin Samura! Do not seek to be a ruler, because if you are given authority for it, then you will be held responsible for it, but if you are given it without asking for it, then you will be helped in it (by Allah)"

When we choose, according to Islam, there is the moral value to be observed. It is not sufficient that the qualities of a leader be confined to his strength of faith, morality, knowledge, experience and influence, ability to implement the trust, committed, including being able to show good character. Remember that we lead not to be popular, or because we be called fighters, but to implement the trust entrusted upon us by Allah, because this trust of vicegerency will remain to the Last Day.

This is the approach taken by PAS in its entire history, that has made it possible for us to face every obstacle in this sacred struggle. Hence, commit yourselves to this responsible by being mindful of the Islamic way which we have been holding on to all this while, so that PAS will continue to be the savior here in this world, and also the Hereafter.

Notes for joint action

Based on the political developments in the country as we face the coming general elections, the following success factors have to be internalized and implemented immediately by all levels of leadership, activists and supporters:

i. Let us all understand the purpose of our struggle and commit ourselves to PAS and strengthen its organization because PAS will continue to struggle based on the objectives as outlines in its constitution.

ii. Let us understand the theme of the Muktamar “Developing a Benevolent Nation” since it will be the key to our actions throughout this year. This main agenda must be further discussed, detailed and acted upon.

iii. Let us strengthen our camaderie and brotherhood amongst our members in order to fulfil Allah’s Command. This is the condition for victory.

iv. Let us understand the meaning of “tahalluf siyasi” (politics of alliance) as an approach that is wise and proper amongst components of the Pakatan Rakyat and hence able to combine our election machinery at all levels in order to remove the Umno-BN government.

v. Let us extend this cooperation in the quest for change by involving the NGOs of various backgrounds as well as all citizens who are concerned about the issue of democracy in this country.

vi. Let us strengthen our information machinery because the message that we are struggling for is “Benevolence for all of Creation”. Our information apparatus must also disseminate the agenda for change as contained in our “Common Policy”, the Orange Book which we stated here.

vii. Let us cleanse our political scene by removing such filthy actions as underhand politics, slander and racism as practiced by Umno-BN. PAS must lead in this effort to get rid of the “end justifies the means” type of politics as if politics is free from Allah’s guidance and from the Shariah.

viii. Let us strengthen the principle of “balance” that has been ordained in the Quran in order to achieve the “Best management” and to achieve the objective of this muktamar, that is “the Development of a Benevolent Nation”.

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