PAS loses shine with campus students

by Zulkifli Sulong
The Malaysian Insider
14 December 2015

Groomed by PAS in university for a future in politics, four close friends who lived and studied together, and were part of the Islamist party’s campus network, have decided to abandon the party and affiliate themselves with other political parties instead.

In events that mirror developments at the national level after PAS progressives left to form Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), the four friends, Khairul Najib Hashim, Mohammad Amar Atan, Fahmi Zainol dan Adam Fistival Wilfrid, said they found PAS to be stifling.

The Universiti Malaya (UM) student activists said the PAS network, also known as “jemaah” (congregation) on campus was controlling and restrictive.

“We considered campus to be a training ground (for politics) and our place to experiment with activities but when PAS tried to stifle us, we started to rebel,” Khairul Najib told The Malaysian Insider.
UM has been a PAS stronghold since the 1980s, when the party formed campus network after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim left Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) for Umno in 1983.

The Islamist party, which is now on its own on the opposition bench after refusing to join Pakatan Harapan, has a cadre system in local universities.

But Khairul Najib, who used to head the PAS “jemaah” network on the UM campus, said the party had begun to control the movement of students, such as by dictating the speakers they could invite.

“When they tried to dictate to us, which ustaz or speaker we should invite, we felt they were behaving like the Students Affairs Body, which we had been resisting.”

Khairul Najib, the former president of UM’s Muslim graduates association (PMIUM) and Mohammad Amar, UM graduates association president (PMUM), have both decided to join PAS splinter group, Amanah instead.

The two have been appointed to Amanah’s Youth exco and are tasked with important duties in the party.

Fahmi, who was PMUM president for the 2013-2014 term, together with Adam, have joined PKR.

Fahmi is the party’s graduates’ bureau chairman, while Adam, a Christian from Sabah, is coordinator for PKR movement, myChangeMakers. Though non-Muslim, he was allowed to join the PAS campus network.

Even one of their seniors, Sheikh Omar Ali, a former PAS Youth chief in Johor also decided to leave the Islamist party to join its former ally, DAP, which was considered anti-Islam by PAS.

Khairul Najib said PAS should had only prepared the guidelines on “tarbiyyah” (systematic development of Muslims), and beyond that, allowed students to experiment freely.

He estimated that some 50% of the students in UM’s PAS “jemaah” had joined Amanah and only 10-15% remained with PAS.

The same scenario has taken place in Universiti Islam Antarabangsa.

A group of students disgruntled with PAS started a faction and joined Amanah when it was formed. – December 14, 2015.

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