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Non-Malays trusted PAS too soon, too early

There were suspicions from the beginning that Umno had its people placed in the right positions to ensure that the results would favour it at the 55th PAS muktamar which chooses the leadership of the party for the next two years.

The conservatives have won favourably though the modern Muslim group within the party known as the ‘Erdogans' have not faired well. The non-Malays will be the most affected by this choice of leadership and direction that Pas has taken. Although there are some in the newly- elected PAS leadership who are saying that this will not see them cooperating with the arch rivals Umno, the writing is very clearly seen on the wall.

Just when we were seeing a viable alternative to BN, the efforts of Anwar Ibrahim to get PAS to work together with the DAP and PKR has all come crumbling down with this choice made by PAS members. The Perak matter will now slowly die off as the pressure will be great on ousted MB Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin to comply with the PAS leadership ie, to not discount working with Umno.

The persons who will have the last laugh will be BN MB Zambry Abdul Kadir and the judges of the superior courts. PAS has failed to show that it can be trusted enough to lead at the national level. The biggest hurdle that PAS overcame was being able to garner the support of the non- Malays.

But after a serious rebuke of female reporters covering the muktamar this time for not covering their heads, it shows that PAS cannot tolerate liberalism and different opinions. The non-Malay women will now be suspicious of PAS and may give their votes to Umno-BN as it is the best devil that we can live with.

PAS has thwarted its own advancement by choosing the conservative line as opposed to being a concerned alternative party which the non-Malays can trust in these times of creeping Islamisation in government bureaucracy.

Issues of the conversion of non-Malays, ‘body-snatching' by the religious police, advancement of women's rights and leadership by women, the non-Malays' rights to education, citizenship and most of all, to be treated equally will now all take a back seat with PAS now suggesting that its doors are upon to Umno for ‘unity government' talks.

The non-Malays had trusted PAS too soon and too early. With the exception of its spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat and his team, PAS seems intent on becoming the next Umno. Progressive leaders in PAS who are well liked by the non-Malays have been rejected by their own members.

This only goes to show that Pas will still alienate the non-Malays and deep down inside, does not believe in cooperation with them. It was heartening to see a non-Malay politician quoting from the Quran and speaking to a large crowd of Malays but that may be a thing of the past now as we creep behind the walls of suspicion towards each other although we have been in this country together for centuries.

PM Najib should take this opportunity to strike at the right time to call for a snap general election. The results will be definitely be in favour of Umno and its race based policies. The non-Malays will perhaps have to trust PKR who is likely to be seen as the last choice in their quest to rid of the race-based mentality that has been the norm all this while.

Even if the DAP co-operates with the PKR, it will still take a lot of convincing before one can believe that they are sincere.

There may be a chance if the multi-racial parties like the Gerakan and the PPP join forces with the PKR-DAP alliance but that thought will not materialise for some time to come as the leaders of these parties seem to be adopting a ‘wait and see approach' and may want to stick with the devil that they can live with.

PAS has disappointed the ‘new Malaysia' who have been waiting to see a change in leadership, the end to race-based policies, equality for the non-Malays, empowerment of women, meritocracy in education and government jobs, equal economic opportunity for all and most of all the right to the freedom of religion.

It is now questionable if PAS is actually for all.

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