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'Conservatives reverting PAS to a kampung party'
Published:  Jun 29, 2015 1:43 PM
Updated: 8:19 AM

The "narrow minded" in PAS today have undone all the hard work undertaken by former party president Fadzil Noor to raise the status of the party from its provincial roots.

So said PAS leader Khalid Samad on his blog today, in a lament that alleged conservative elements are destroying efforts to make the party inclusive and relevant to the national political and Islamic scene.

"Unfortunately, the attitude of openness that was shown by the late Fadzil Noor isn't being perpetuated by the narrow minded.

"Allegations of 'infiltration' (by external parties), 'wanting to grab power' and 'grand design' are often mentioned by those who disagree with (Fadzil's) approach," said Khalid, who is Shah Alam MP.

Relating the achievements of Fadzil and how the latter built up the party by engaging with and through the help of outside parties such as Islamic NGOs and civil society, Khalid said the latest developments in the party were steps backwards.

"Today this narrow-minded attitude has regained control of most of the leadership of PAS, as it had been before the days of Fadzil.

"They are now popularising once again the idea of  'infiltration' and are planting again hatred and mistrust for Islamic NGOs," he said.

"In their quest, the spirit of Islam has shrunken, made worse by a penchant for arguing among the Muslim community," added the vocal MP who was one of the targets of a smear campaign against the party progressives in the run up to the muktamar earlier this month.

Fadzil too fought conservatives

Khalid recalled how Fadzil ( photo ) had united the Muslim NGOs during the time when PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim was first jailed in 1998.

This, he said, brought PAS and the NGOs closer together and erased all prior misunderstanding and prejudice of the party as a narrow and "kampung" party.

"PAS was thus seen as open and caring towards the problems of the say, unlike the earlier perception of the party," he said, and said this resulted in NGO leaders joining PAS' ranks and being elected as leaders.

However, said Khalid, there was still resistance at the time from narrow-minded PAS leaders and members towards the newcomers, "but Fadzil persevered with his attitude of openness".

He related how Fadzil had told him that if they could not manage the differences in opinion over Islam in a harmonious manner, then there was no hope that the Muslim community would be united.

Khalid himself had been demonised by party conservatives as a "lackey" and a "parasite" for holding a moderate view on issues such as the implementation of hudud and the powers of state Islamic authorities, specifically blaming it on the undesirable influence of Pakatan partner DAP.

The end result was the party progressives such as Khalid were practically obliterated from PAS' top leadership at the muktamar polls.

From kampung party to national

Khalid continued to elaborate on how Fadzil's legacy had allowed PAS to improve its image among the Islamic NGOs and civil society in general.

"Resulting from his efforts, PAS' image as a kampung party with no capabilities and which is insular was erased in the eyes of society from year to year."

This, he said, was also aided along with the help of other NGOs such as Gabungan Mansuhkan ISA's (GMI), Bar Council, Suaram and Bersih, which not only raised the party's profile among the Muslims but non-Muslims as well.

With the present behaviour of conservative party leaders, said Khalid, all that Fadzil has built is being "demolished piece by piece".

"With such narrow-mindedness, PAS can never achieve the position of being a leader or a force to unite Muslims in Malaysia as what Fadzil had aspired," he said.