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LETTER | PAS is all religion, no substance

LETTER | The best stress test of any political party of a specific religious creed is the extent to which it can reflect on the problems faced by all communities, not just one narrow parochial definition of Muslims.

To make matters worse, instead of encouraging Muslims to love knowledge, indeed the kind of knowledge that can draw one closer to Allah and Prophet Muhammad, the PAS leadership instead fancies itself a kingmaker or a “king spoiler”.

In their most recent muktamar, or annual gathering, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Ismail had the temerity of talking about contesting 27 seats currently held by Pakatan Harapan.

Missing in their discussions were the guilty verdicts of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor. It is almost as if PAS was sidestepping the heinous crime of plunder and corruption that has become endemic and a way of life in Malaysia.

While it is true that Islam, does not encourage one to talk about the sins of others, this religious tradition concerns acts of transgressions that cannot be proven.

Once it is proven, however, a healthy policy discourse must include advising the guilty to embrace virtues and to avoid the perpetuation of more sins, both against the creations of God and against the sanctity of God himself.

Yet, once again, the threads of such discussions were empty, if not parlous and porous. One delegate affirmed that “PAS will always win since it follows the righteous road.” What righteous road?

Syariah, for example, means the path that leads to a water hole in a dry and parched desert. Where is the policy leadership of PAS on critical issues of the day, such as endemic Covid-19, severe lack of food security, and an ever-expanding poverty trap that affects more and more people? Where does PAS stand on any of these issues?

At a time when the Malaysian economy is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, and potential monkeypox outbreaks since vaccines remain in short supply, it is both shocking and depressing that PAS did not alert the government on what more needs to be done.

Indeed, it is as clear as night and day that Malaysia is reeking of all forms of corruption peddled by cartels in and outside the government, both at the federal and state levels.

At a time when Malaysia is facing gross inflation of major consumer items, from rice and bread to the price of fuel and gas, corruption can compound the cost of these items further, especially when the subsidy scheme is not without its flaws.

There is also nothing in the Quran or Hadith that says non-Muslims do not deserve to be helped. If anything, it is the contrary, as Islam is merciful and compassionate to all.

Yet, over and again, PAS seeks to show its obdurate nature that in no small way is the manifestation of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

It is quite startling that the leadership and the rank and file of PAS cannot muster the necessary aptitude, let alone attitude, to pass a simple policy motion on how to reform and reset Malaysia.

By this token PAS, is a failed political party that peddles the use of religion to mask its persistent failures. “The merchant traders” of Islam.

What makes these failures even more glaring is the fact that PAS had real experience in the Federal and state government.

Since 1975, when it decided to work with BN before the alliance fell apart, PAS has had various roles in different governments.

So, how does PAS fail Malaysians again and again despite being given the chance to rule Kelantan since 1979 and occasionally Terengganu between 1999 and 2003, only to fail again until it regained the state in 2018. 

Now that it is part of the federal government, in which PAS contributes 18 MPs as part of the Perikatan Nasional coalition, what excuse does it have for the party’s silence on current issues during its most recent muktamar?

PAS appeared to have no serious discussion on the rise in the cost of living, stagnant wages, high unemployment, especially among Muslim youths, the increasing drug use, and why PAS is quiet on climate change, which is triggering massive floods around the country?

The reason is PAS does not care.

Even if it does, the grotesque emphasis on how many seats it will contest in the general election, in order to deny any political coalition the numbers to form a government harks at the tenacious desire of the party to undermine one of the key objectives of syariah law. That is to protect the public interest of all, without any discrimination against people of all faiths, by ensuring the certainty of forming a sound, accountable and conscientious government.

When PAS assumes what is out of sight is out of mind, it is precisely this form of apathy that has reduced the Muslim world to a pathetic reflection of its golden past five centuries ago.

This is unpardonable as PAS is the oldest political party in the Muslim world, preceding even the transition of the Muslim Brotherhood as a political movement.

PAS’ silence on such issues reflects a party that is quietly working with, not just Bersatu and Umno, but also dark forces that are churning in Malaysia and the world.

The current PAS is a blight on the legacy of the late PAS leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and former opposition leader Fadzil Noor. Forget not that the party once said that they were “satisfied” with the explanation given by then 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy on the issues surrounding the sovereign wealth fund.

As we know now, the 1MDB scandal is perhaps the world’s worst case of kleptocracy involving billions in taxpayers’ funds. If PAS can be satisfied with it, imagine if they are entrusted with ruling this nation. No, thank you!

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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