PAS good at scoring own goals.

UMNO must be relieved at the turn of focus from 1MDB to now Hudud amendment in Kelantan. PAS without Tok Guru Nik Aziz has lost its focus and falling into UMNO trap. The Islamist party had won both Terengganu and Kedah in the past but then lost both due to its fanatical focus on religious matters and not bread and butter issues. Both the states were lost to Umno, and yet the Ulama faction in Pas finds it is somehow kosher being chummy with Umno, its former arch enemy, rather than being faithful to its Pakatan Rakyat allies. And Umno is skillfully and successfully enticing Pas into the hudud trap that will eventually help it wrest Kelantan from Pas.

Kelantanese revered Tok Guru and voted him in as Menteri Besar. But Pas has lost a spiritual and moral leader and runs the high possibility of losing the state in GE14. Umno has been subtly nudging Pas to amend the Kelantan Syariah Code 11 1993, knowing very well that it will not go down well with the people of Kelantan who are just recovering from the worst flood ever. It is unfortunate that the Ulama faction in Pas has wool pulled over its eyes and cannot seem to distinguish between friend and foe.

A recent Merdeka Center survey shows 81% of Malay/Muslim respondents across Peninsula Malaysia felt that the Kelantan state government should prioritise repairs and reconstruction of homes damaged during the devastating floods rather than concentrate its efforts on passing a bill to amend its 1993 hudud enactment. A similar survey conducted in April 2014 revealed that a majority (58%) of Malay respondents thought that the country is not ready for hudud implementation. But the Pas political leadership is not listening.

Another recent survey shows that 67.5% of Malays, 91.4% Chinese and 89.2% Indians who polled preferred a party that takes care of all Malaysians and not race-based parties championing their own communities. While Malaysians are moving towards national harmony and unity, Umno and Pas are galloping in the opposite direction for their own political survival.

But these recent developments have opened up space and opportunities for more moderate and people-centric political leadership among Malay/Muslim communities. But, of course, the hardline faction of both Umno and Pas will never allow space for the moderates to flourish. Malay/Muslim communities are being suffocated and suppressed by these religious and racial zealots and bigots. Both Umno and Pas are preventing and building barriers for the community to be competitive and strong to face the challenges of globalisation.

Kelantan remains one of the nation’s poorest states and its agriculture-driven economy has remained largely sluggish. The average monthly family income is one of the country’s lowest at RM3168 in 2012. The large presence of foreign workers are stagnating the wages for working class which is largely Malay/Muslim. Even race based parties are getting outdated but PAS is going back to stone ages of cruel inhuman punishment and suppression. Malaysians have to show them the door out.


Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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