Monday, June 06, 2011

PAS 57th Muktamar : A new line-up, a ray of hope?

PAS new line-up, a ray of hope?

The new leadership that emerged after the recent PAS elections is indeed a great relief for those who were beginning to give up hope for change in the political landscape in the country. This comes particularly at a time when the 13GE is just around the corner.

The peaceful way the elections were conducted puts many other rival parties to shame. The were no obvious bitter bickering and personal politicking and the results of the delegates were accepted in a true spirit of democracy.The whole process revealed a high level of maturity on the part of the delegates at the 57th.General Assembly of the Islamic political party.

The speech by the President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, at the opening of the assembly showed a ‘changed’ man who in no uncertain terms rejected the various offers to entice the party to form a unity government with BN. His outright rejection brought hopes to many who were against a Umno-Pas unity government and those skeptical of the party’s true intentions.

Despite the lucrative offer, Hadi’s reiteration that PAS would remain in Pakatan is a sign of the party’s sincerity and will in fighting corruption, a vice that has plagued the nation for too long.

His strong condemnation of the "disgusting acts like corruption, money politics, slander, racism, lies and all manner of things which embarrass even our children who are watching us” is encouraging that an era of morally clean and civil politics may be in the pipeline if political change does take effect after the 13GE.Unfortunately our mainstream media saw these brave words of the PAS president to be not important enough to be reported by them.

The election of Mohamed Sabu as the PAS deputy president and vice-presidents Salahuddin Ayub, Datuk Husam Musa and Datuk Mahfuz Omar is expected to strengthen further Pakatan Rakyat and enhance its aspirations to capture Putrajaya. They together with the many second line leaders in PAS are people with high integrity who have captured the people’s admiration.

The non-Muslims were generally not interested in the PAS Muktamar before but after the historic elections of March 2008, their interest in the Islamic party increased. The outcome of the PAS Assembly this time brought the hope that were all looking for from a party that they were suspicious of before. The party which they used to fear as being associated with Islamic fundamentalism has become more appealing to them today. Why the change of mind?

As members of the non-Muslim minority population we are becoming more and more disillusioned with Umno-BN as the ruling party. We are deeply hurt and disturbed by the attitude of the Umno-BN towards us and we see no future for our children if the situation continues. After working together closely for over 50 years, Umno does not seem to appreciate our contributions to the nation and keeps calling us pendatang and questioning our loyalty and allegiance to the country where we were born and bred.

Malaysians have lived together in peace and harmony for over half a century. We have accepted the special position of the bumiputras, Malay as the national language and Islam as the official religion and these are non-issues today. Unfortunately we are still being accused of questioning all these provisions in the Constitution. Where do we go from here with all the focus on race based politics?

We realize the need for a dominant Malay party to govern but Umno does not seem to be the right party that can protect our interests anymore. We are fast losing our trust in it to defend our rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution. We need to look for an alternate party and the recent PAS Assembly has given us hopes that it may that party and Pakatan in general who can provide that role as the protector of the rights of all Malaysians regardless of race and creed.

We have the right to be suspicious of PAS after 50 years under Umno’s influence but will PAS and Pakatan be worse than Umno and BN in ruling the country? This is the question which we all must find an answer before the coming 13GE.

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