Why non-Malays are afraid of Pas

26 Oct 2023 12:21pm
Pas President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang during the recently concluded Pas Muktamar. - Photo by Sinar/MOHD HALIM ABDUL WAHID.
Pas President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang during the recently concluded Pas Muktamar. - Photo by Sinar/MOHD HALIM ABDUL WAHID.

AT the recent Muktamar, Pas leadership acknowledged the need for non-Malay voters' support to win elections.

However, Pas President Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang blamed ‘Islamophobia against Pas’ for the party's failures in this regard.

Pas has surpassed DAP in terms of estimated strength.

Non-Malay voters – Chinese, Indians, as well as indigenous people from Sabah and Sarawak – don't uniformly support DAP.

Many of them don't support DAP but also reject Pas.

Rejection of Pas should not be equated with Islamophobia because Islam cannot be equated with any political party.

Umno members until 2020 rejected Pas, as did Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Should those parties also be considered Islamophobic?

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There is one party more powerful than DAP in shaping the perceptions of non-Malay voters regarding Pas.

The popularity of DAP is more due to the rejection of the party.

That party is none other than Pas itself.

On January 18, 2016, Harakah published a statement by Hadi stating that Christian evangelists were attempting to spread Christianity among the poor.

Two Christians in Sabah took this matter to court but failed to obtain a declaration. He had incited and is someone unsuitable to hold public office.

On December 25, 2017, Hadi was reported to have stated that ministerial positions should only be held by Muslims.

This statement was later cushioned to mean that non-Muslims could be ministers but only as implementers, not policy-makers.

On August 20, 2022, Hadi was reported to have stated that most bribe givers were non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras.

The police investigated this case last April, but no further action has occurred.

On May 29, the Kedah Menteri Besar from Pas, Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, claimed that Penang belonged to Kedah historically in the 18th century.

Using the same argument, Perlis, northern Perak, and Satun (a province in Thailand) are also part of Kedah, but only Penang, with its non-Malay majority, was claimed.

I can understand the worldview paradigm held by Pas leaders like Hadi and Sanusi.

They view non-Muslims in only two categories: those who submit to Muslims (kafir dzimmi) and those who fight against Muslims (kafir harbi).

They (Pas) cannot comprehend non-Muslims who are friends and in solidarity with Muslims, not as masters or puppets.

For example, King Najasyi of Abyssinia gave political asylum to the followers of the Prophet from Mecca.

Also, Abu Talib Mutalib, the Prophet's paternal uncle who protected him until the end of his life but remained steadfast in his own faith.

The principles of citizenship were embedded in the society of Medina led by the Prophet himself.

This forms the basis of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Madani concept.

No one can force Pas to accept the multicultural reality of Malaysian society.

Without that acceptance, do not expect non-Muslim support.

*Professor Wong Chin Huat is the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN-Asia), Asia Office Deputy Chief (Strategy) at Sunway University. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.

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