PETALING JAYA: PAS has become a mature and moderate party – the ulamak leadership has succeeded in shredding the Taliban image that always laced Islamic organisations or political parties.
In fact, just two decades ago, in the eighties, the Islamist party was known to be in the same league as that of a militant movement with majority wearing sarbans (turbans) and doning unkempt long white beards and moustaches.
With green robes, they would be flocking to the many ceramahs that party held all over the country, hitting out at the Barisan Nasional (BN) so-called infidel policies and so-called munafik or hypocrites leaders.
Today, PAS is totally a different Islamist political movement despite having same leaders and objectives, where intellectualism and appearances have changed the party outlook into more inclusive and acceptable by non-Muslims.
Its leaders are no longer obsessed with green robes and grey long beards and moustaches but instead some even draped in neck-ties and blazers and clean shaven.
They talk and preach Islamic economies and indulge in intellectual discourse on social and other topics, joining the mainstream academics and NGOs to discuss world events.
The Islamist party has come a long way from a party that appeal to poor Malays in the rural areas where religion is the only escape from poverty and lack of knowledge to intellectuals and those in urban areas when the party leaders changed their approach to a more moderate style and taking up more national issues than just sticking to Islam’s halal and haram (legal and prohibitions).
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said it rightly last week that the Islamist party was being sought after at present by other political parties and not the other way round.
Politically, PAS has come of age – whether due to BN’s dwindling support for their errors in implementation of policies or infighting within the coalition parties or DAP’s successes in gaining Chinese supporters – either way the Islamist party is now a force to be reckoned with.
It can now state its terms and conditions in any political negotiations with either the ruling BN or the opposition pact and it can stand alone in any situation.
During the beginning of the opposition pact in 1999 general election which they called themselves Alternative Front front, PAS and then splinter of Umno Semangat 46 had focused their onslaught in the east coast while PAS and DAP co-operated politically on the west coast front where Chinese and urban Malays were majority.
In short, the Islamist party played the pivotal role in gluing the opposition parties against the ruling BN just because it had the machinery and manpower to dispense for groundwork.
Again in 2008 general election, PAS again provided the much needed election machinery at grassroot level when together with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP under the unregistered umbrella Pakatan Rakyat (PR), they launched the onslaught against BN.
It was successful and the opposition pact went on to retain and penetrated Umno bastion in Johor.
However, as the saying goes, all good things will have to end and this goes true with PR when DAP and PAS broke ranks and ended up with not seeing eye-to-eye.
The enmity became worse when DAP formed a new opposition pact called Pakatan Harapan and admitted PAS’ splinter party Parti Amanah Nasional (Amanah).
But to PAS, now is not the time to look back and be emotional about past ties and relationships.
The Islamist party leaders are now considered as rejuvenated with a new spirit and confidence where they no longer wants to play second-fiddle to anything.
The party now wants to be recognised as a force and Abdul Hadi had stated which was reiterated by the party secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan that PAS would even do it alone.
It is no longer the kampung laced with Taliban image party – it is now a mature and moderate Islamist party to be reckoned with in Malaysia’s political scenario.-MYNEWSHUB.CC