Some lessons from PAS muktamar

By The Malaysian Insider
June 04, 2011

JUNE 4 — Beyond the headlines in the past few days, some interesting facts and storylines have been thrown up by the PAS elections. These include:

Lesson Number 1: For all the stereotyping of PAS as a party of backward religious types, these elections have shown that the Islamic political party is committed to democratic principles.

In the months before the polls, it was clear that this was going to be a tough and possibly acrimonious polls between the religious class and the progressives. Some argued that the PAS leadership should have postponed the bruising elections in view of coming general elections.

No way.

PAS went ahead with the party elections, believing that electing leaders is a crucial part of democracy. Unlike Umno who has postponed its party elections for fear of infighting. Unlike the MCA which has also postponed its party election.

Sure, the PAS leadership may have their work cut out in bridging gap between the ulamas and the progressives but would you prefer politicians who delay tackling an issue or those who confront issues headlong?

Lesson Number 2: Calling all future election candidates: if you want to win a contest, engineer it so that Utusan Malaysia and the mainstream media will campaign for your opponent.

In the run up to the PAS elections, Utusan Malaysia campaigned for Nasharuddin Mat Isa and others in the ulama class, believing that this group was more amenable to working with Umno.

Not a day went by without Utusan Malaysia talking up the need for PAS to be run by the ulamas (a curious happening given that the paper’s owner ridicules PAS’s brand of Islam).

So what happens? Nasharuddin the incumbent number 2 is soundly beaten by Mat Sabu, a PAS veteran who enjoys close ties with Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim. Also, Husam Musa — a favourite target of Utusan Malaysia — got in as one of the three vice-presidents.

Perhaps this is another sign of the waning influence of Utusan, a paper read and believed only by Umno members. This fact should worry Umno because its mouthpiece is losing the ability to shape opinion outside hardcore party supporters.

Lesson Number 3: You didn’t hear Ustaz Hadi Awang speaking about Malay rights, about apportioning contracts to Malay business, about banning the Bible, about crushing Christians.

What you heard during the presidential address was some idea about a welfare state which PAS wants to introduce if Pakatan Rakyat comes to power; on how Umno had corrupted and made Malays unthinking,etc.

Basically, you did not have table thumping and fire and brimstone speeches and threatening gestures you find at the Umno assembly.

Point is that the PAS leaders may not come across as urbane or sophisticated but they seem to dislike playing the race card. That is refreshing in this racially polarised country.

And reflects what Islam is all about. Or for that matter, the PAS that wants to govern Malaysia.

  1. #1 by limkamput on Saturday, 4 June 2011 - 9:40 pm

    Think about it, PR shall never follow the mentality of BN. All BN parties have UMNO disease – no contest for number 1 and 2, postpone party election with the slightest excuse, and subverting democratic process with all kinds of conditions making challengers almost impossible to contest and win. All these were introduced not for unity and for the greater good of the party or the country. It was to serve the incumbents so that who ever hold number 1 or 2 positions shall hold office forever. PR shall never follow this kind of moronic mentality. Come what may, the party leadership must face the delegates and renew their mandate. This is the only way forward.

  2. #2 by Jong on Sunday, 5 June 2011 - 1:36 am

    CONGRATS PAS for voting in a progressive team to lead the party forward! Indeed, victory of the ‘Erdogans’ is like a breath of fresh air for the party, good job!!

    I salute those many right-thinking PAS delegates who dare to stand up to bravely reject outright that ‘suspicious thorn in the butt’ . Yes that umno mole that had been creating much disunity and mistrust for the Pakatan Rakyat coalition with his often mischievous on-off “umno-pas unity talks”.

    I must say PAS’s patience, toleransi and maturity dealing with this mole has been most admireable.
    What’s next, will he continue to deny he had any bad intention or wrong doing? Will evil umno now disavow any link it has with this mole now that he’s only an ordinary member?

    Get rid of that troublemaker, it’s bad rubbish!

  3. #3 by k1980 on Sunday, 5 June 2011 - 8:17 am

    Now that the ‘Erdogans’ have won in PAS, umno may now launch Ops Altantu, that is c4 all the PR leaders before the 13GE

  4. #4 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 5 June 2011 - 8:39 am

    This article got one thing wrong – Mat Sabu is no Anwar-fan, he is a PR supporter. The lineup shows breaking new frontier in maturity of Malay leadership – to step up in leadership even as PKR are having a host of problems and contribute to hold PR together. No doubt its partly an ambition to lead the Malays as is their right to try. Nevertheless, its maturity, its a forward in national dialogue and Malay leadership. This is Malay and Malaysian at its finest – not the perversion that is Mahathir’s creation in UMNO B.

    The challenge for Mat Sabu is actually intense the hardest of all. Its the onus for DAP and PKR to reach out to him and offer what they can. Its important to share political milleage and political capital with this crop of PAS leadership.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Sunday, 5 June 2011 - 11:00 am

    Inilah perjuangan moral moral umat islam sebenarnya-bukan jenama saja ya.Congrats to PAS who has come to term with more maturity and demoratic way in this new era.Reject style UMNO-1Malay,1Crony Corrupted BN,1I bra Him and all the satu Underwear n jamban ware

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