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PAS Non-Muslim Candidate Strategy Unworkable, Says Analyst

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KUALA LUMPUR: PAS’ decision to field a non-Muslim candidate in the upcoming 11th Sarawak state election may not work in the party’s favour, according to a political analyst.

Dean of Universiti Utara Malaysia’s College of Law, Government and International Studies Asso Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed said Sarawak voters have always rejected PAS mainly due to its hudud law agenda. They were more inclined towards voting for candidates from parties which represent their ethnic group, he added.

“PAS’ strategy to nominate a non-Muslim candidate is not going to change the Sarawak electorate’s voting trend because voters are not going to look at the candidate but the party he or she is involved in. Moreover, peninsula-based parties like PAS and even the newly-formed coalition Pakatan Harapan have no place in the politics of that state.

“This is because the issues that they usually raise are national ones like 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad), BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) and hudud, whereas the people there prefer to focus on local issues related to development, infrastructure, education, job opportunities and native customary rights land,” he told Bernama.

Last night, PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang named Clement Bayang, 59, who is a popular Iban singer and recording artiste, as the party’s candidate for the Kakus state seat.

Clement, who is Sarawak PAS Supporters Congress chief, is among the 11 PAS candidates who will be contesting in the state election. The State Legislative Assembly now has 82 seats, 11 more than at the previous election in 2011.

Besides Clement, the other PAS candidates are Ustaz Yusof Assidiqqi Ahmad Sharkawi (Samariang), Zainal Abidin Yet (Pantai Damai), Zulkipli Ramzi (Muara Tuang), Asan Sikro (Sadong Jaya), Ustaz Wan Abdillah Wan Ahmad (Sebuyau), Kiprawi Aman (Jepak), Sarawak PAS Youth chief Mohammad Arifiriazul Paijo (Lambir), Sarawak PAS Commissioner Jofri Jaraiee (Pujut), Zharudin Narudin (Samalaju, which is a new seat) and Hamidah Mokhtar (Beting Maro).

Ahmad Martadha said PAS’ “unworkable” strategy, contrived mainly to attract voters, may even tarnish the image of the party which has been struggling for the Islamic cause all these years.

“PAS is trying to attain victory at all costs… regardless of the fact that PAS is an Islamic party. In reality, its strategy will have an adverse impact on the party, which has never fielded non-Muslim candidates previously,” he added.

During the 10th Sarawak state election in 2011, PAS contested in five constituencies – Tanjong Datu, Muara Tuang, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau and Beting Maro – but failed to secure any seat.



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