ANALYSIS The victory of the progressives in Malaysia’s Islamic party has indeed served to inject greater dynamism into Pakatan Rakyat and strengthen PAS’ engagement in national politics.
The party nevertheless faces deep-seated suspicion by many non-Muslims and more secular Malays who see the election of the non-ulama team as a move to gain power than to genuinely move PAS towards the centre and towards the mantra that has guided the party for the last few years ‘PAS for All’.
The fact of the matter is that PAS will never appeal to all Malaysians as many reject religious parties and others remain apprehensive about the intolerant messages of PAS leaders in the past on issues of morality especially. Many will remain loyal to the BN and Umno no matter what.
Yet, PAS, like all parties in Malaysia, evolves along with its ideology and strategies. What distinguishes PAS from Umno today is that those willing to engage in reform have taken the party’s helm, while in contrast the dialogue and direction from Umno and its Perkasa allies appears to remain locked in a time warp of the racial ideas of the 70s whose time has long past...