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Opposition needs moderate non-Muslims like 'one seat' MCA, says Hadi

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The opposition alliance requires non-Muslims who are not extreme, said PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, in reference to MCA contesting the Nov 16 Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor.

Citing MCA as an example of such non-Muslims, he also pointed out that the once second-largest party in BN is now reduced to a single parliamentary seat.

“PAS sees that the opposition alliance needs non-Muslims who are not extreme in a multiracial society, which is MCA that has a single seat.

“For the next general election, this formula could change, depending on the strategies and scenario during that period to ensure victory for Muaafakat Nasional at a larger level,” Hadi added.

Last week, Kedah PAS state commissioner Ahmad Yahya said voting for MCA candidate Wee Jeck Seng in the by-election is akin to purchasing Malay-Muslim products from a Chinese salesperson.

When PAS was a member of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, which was dissolved in 2015, MCA leaders had criticised DAP for cooperating with the Islamist party.

While PAS and DAP are now bitter foes, MCA, however, has found itself in an awkward position after Umno and PAS forged an official alliance in September.

Wee, who is hoping to recapture the Tanjung Piai seat, has hit the campaign trail against this backdrop and must explain to the Chinese voters, who comprise 41.42 percent of the electorate, about this reversal of roles.

The MCA man will be locking horns with five others - Pakatan Harapan’s Karmaine Sardini, Gerakan's Wendy Subramaniam, Berjasa's Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz, and two independent candidates - Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar and Dr Ng Chuan Lock.

In the last general election, Wee, who was the Tanjung Piai MP for two terms, lost to Bersatu's Dr Md Farik Md Rafik by a mere 524 votes.

The Nov 16 by-election was called following Md Farik's death in September.

Meanwhile, Hadi said while PAS was once with Pakatan Rakyat, it did not agree with those who supported pluralism of faiths or wanted to emulate Islamic parties abroad.

“PAS stresses that Islam is the only true (religion) and accepts the freedom to profess other faiths without preventing non-Muslims who believe their religions to be true.

“PAS rejects the concept that all religions are true and the same,” Hadi added in an article published in Harakah Online.

Delving into PAS' history, he said the party had struggled with Umno and others, except the communists, to demand independence from the British.

“PAS became an opposition party after opposing the jus soli concept (for citizenship) but defended the special rights of the Malays and bumiputera.

“PAS was together in creating BN after the May 13, 1969, incident, with the condition that PAS is given the right to bring Islam according to its own interpretation an approach. In the end, PAS was expelled from BN.

“PAS was also with the Umno splinter party Semangat 46 based on the concept that Islam is a way of life.

“PAS was also with PKR and DAP in Barisan Alternatif but left due to PAS insistence of wanting to implement Islam, which DAP should not have interfered with,” he added.

Barisan Alternatif ended in 2001 after PAS and DAP leaders crossed swords. Seven years later, the two parties became allies again in Pakatan Rakyat.

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