PAS and this lousy system of democracy

    I thank Silas Marner (Enough time for PAS to have become autocratic) for his comments on my views.

    The simple reply to Silas is that although PAS has been 'in power' for a long time in Kelantan, their 'power' is limited by the Federal Constitution, in that the Kelantan state government has no power to regulate the media or to invoke the ISA, hence they have been unable to suppress criticism and opposition even if they had wanted to.

    Actually, Silas' admission that PAS would have to compromise (if they come into power, in order to work with their allies in the opposition) already implies that if PAS does not have to compromise, their true colour would be extreme.

    So far, PAS has refrained from taking obvious public position on many current controversial issues, from the Islamic Family Law to the Moorthy and Nyonya Tahir cases. This is a clever strategy (if not a sign that PAS is still divided among its ulama vs progressive leaders) in that PAS has let Umno take the heat on their own.

    Be that as it may, PAS' Harakah website and paper are full of far right views against public debate by non-Muslims on 'Islam'. The website has also been carrying for a long time news against the interfaith commission.

    These news items which basically take the stand that the Umno leadership has been too soft in not silencing non-Muslims on Islamic matters, should leave us with no doubt about what a PAS federal government would have done in the current controversies.

    It does not take a genius to see that such an attitude - that the government would be justified in silencing criticisms of Islamic laws even though the laws adversely affect and greatly upset the non-Muslims - could be easily extended to all laws made in the name of Islam. In the ideal PAS Islamic theocracy, surely, all laws would be pure 'Islamic' laws.

    Therefore, unless and until PAS publicly articulates a progressive blueprint for its Islamic state (which completely distinguishes them from the Iranian Ayatollahs, their Wahhabi sponsors and their brothers in Sudan and the Taliban), and vouch that they will be firmly bound by it, we have no reason to place our future in their hands.

    However, I still feel that Silas, just like Abu Mubarak, missed the crux of my arguments in that they both use the failure of a racist-feudal system to advocate for a theocratic system as its automatic replacement. I have criticised the theocratic system as worse than the current one. My alternative is a fully democratic and equal system.

    In other words, we have 'common enemies', but our alternatives are different. Therefore, to keep denouncing Umno does not really answer my real contention - that the democratic and equal system is the best alternative to the current racist-feudal system.

    Such a system does not pretend that human rulers and a government by human beings is perfect, and it gives emphasis to measures designed to curb human weaknesses. The PAS theocracy/Utopia, on the other hand, pretends that human rulers could be made near-angels by their sheer religious piety but leaves us with little tools to check them when they become corrupted by their absolute, theocratic powers.

    Winston Churchill once said that, 'Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried'. Perhaps the good Muslims of Malaysia should help make the best out of this lousy system of democracy by bringing in the values of true Islam to improve the system, instead of destroying it by dreaming about an Utopia.