Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The 58th national PAS muktamar 2012

Divided PAS a cause for concern

The just concluded 58th national PAS muktamar showed the Islamism party PAS to be deeply divided on religious and political issues. These include the hudud, Islamic state and the choice of PM if Pakatan takes over Putrajaya. Although its leaders may have softened their stand on the creation of an Islamic state with the implementation of the hudud laws as shown by the president whose speech was silent on these issue, but deep in the hearts of the members the yearning for an Islamic state and syariah laws is still very much alive which makes many wonder on the sincerity of PAS in the opposition coalition.

 The party leadership was trying very hard to portray the image of a ‘PAS for all’ attitude. This was clearly demonstrated by the inclusion of the members of the non-Muslim supporter’s club in the muktamar for the very first time, hosting their meet in a Chinese hall and playing multilingual music during breaks in the proceedings. These gestures may be encouraging, but they are far from adequate to please the non-Muslims for too long.

PAS President Datul Seri Hadi Awang  did a great balancing act by avoiding treading on controversial issues that could split the voters which could deny Pakatan a victory in the soon to be held 13GE.By pledging to fix  the faulty economy of the BN he tried to portray PAS, although an Islamist party struggling set up an Islamic state, as a party which is also capable of undertaking modern economic management that is prudent and effective, a task that was doubted by the people at large.

Hadi’s call for a liberal stand to gain the hearts of non-Muslims did not go down well with the delegates many among whom feared that their party may be losing their original Islamic ideals. They  insisted that PAS return to its original struggles to establish an Islamic state with hudud laws being the supreme law of the land.  

The call to nominate Hadi as the PM if Pakatan wins the 13GE caught everyone by surprise as before that the Pakatan leadership, comprising Hadi himself pledged to support DSAI for the post. Why the sudden change just before the general elections? Is there any sinister motive behind this move? Why did Dap supremo Lim Kit Siang had to over-emphasize on the support for Anwar at the giant rally in Kota Baru on the night of the PAS muktamar? Why did Hadi after initial reluctance was quick to accept the offer saying, he is ready to be the PM if required? Why did Anwar very quickly respond very magnanimously in accommodating the suggestion of Hadi being the PM?

Would Hadi , being a religious man of high integrity and rapidly gaining the respect of non-Muslims, betray his Pakatan colleagues with who he had established such a close rapport? Was it a calculated political move or even a sandiwara to get the support of the Malays who may have some reservations of Anwar becoming the PM? These are some puzzling political maneuvers that will only become clear with the passage of time.

 Hadi Awang and other PAS leaders insist that their party may   be divided on major issues but it is united and fully  committed to  its partners in Pakatan Rakyat in toppling the mighty BN in the  most crucial 13GE.

Whatever happens within PAS may be its internal problem for its leadership to sort out but what is most important is its commitment to the rakyat who have placed their hopes and trust in the Pakatan leadership to bring political change for the better.

The outcome of the 58th PAS muktamar was a source of concern for all Malaysians who were anxiously looking forward for the dawn of a new Malaysia. The Pakatan leadership may resort to any political game to outdo their rival but they must never betray the trust of people for whatever reason, be it for power, wealth or religious. There has never been a better opportunity to change the government and Malaysians of all race and creed and from walks of life hope and pray they will not be let down by the very leaders who promised to save them and their nation from clutches of  corruption, power abuse and racism.

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