Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Are you PAS-phobic?

They had their time and day, and they blew it. They’d probably never have another such chance to prove to the non-Muslims that they were not the Taliban of Malaysia.

But they are not, seriously.

PAS: What’s your take?

“I’d rather spoil my vote than vote for those religious extremist sexist pricks.”

Those were the words of a fellow doctor in a brief SMS exchange regarding his choice between UMNO and PAS. It is not an isolated view. It is perhaps more representative of the non-Muslim opinion on PAS than what one reads about in the blogs and internet.

Is PAS really as terrible as its reputation suggest?

I don’t know. I’ve never lived in Kelantan or under PAS rule.

In most of my life until recently, my opinion of PAS was shaped by the BN media, which forever paints PAS as the devil of all devils. Ask most non-Muslim, NST-reading Malaysians and chances are, they’ll probably use very unflattering adjectives when discussing about PAS: narrow-minded, extremist, sexist, religious, holier-than-thou, hypocrites and even Taliban, the final word being more of a noun rather than an adjective.

I did buy Harakah once or twice but finally gave up because I never did gather enough passion or interest to read through the whole paper.

What I do know is that PAS hit the jackpot in the 1999 elections, winning as many as 36 parliamentary seats and also the state of Terengganu. Jumping on the free-Anwar and anti-Mahathir bandwagon, PAS achieved election victory at the expense of the DAP, whose leaders Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang both lost their parliamentary seats.

PAS had a chance to prove itself after the 1999 elections and PAS did not waste any time trying to do so. It formed a shadow cabinet and its MPs were more than vocal in Parliament. That’s was about it all though, for thereafter, most of its MPs’ debates in Parliament were merely verbal diarrhea. Instead of the economy and environment, PAS pursued morality and religiosity - which is not wrong in any sense except for the fact that such views were projected based on their narrow interpretation of Islam.

They had their time and day, and they blew it. They’d probably never have another such chance to prove to the non-Muslims that they were not the Taliban of Malaysia.

But they are not, seriously.

Despite the occasional ultra-religious and frankly stupid comments made by some of their leaders, PAS was never known for threatening the kafirs with bloodshed. They probably never will, in fact. PAS has never snatched the bodies of dead people, or demolished churches or Hindu temples at their pleasure. PAS has never sold ICs to outsiders and then use them to canvass for votes. PAS has never demonstrated violence in public or in private. It was never implicated in the May 13 riots. It has never broken up any human rights forum or organize any Burn-Down-The-Chinese-Assembly-Hall campaign. It has never employed Mat Rempits to terrorize those opposed to its view. PAS leaders have not been known to live a lavish lifestyle and then proclaim sympathy and identification for the poor. PAS leaders are not the ones that have practiced a divide-and-rule administration. PAS in Kelantan has never told its non-Muslims to get their asses out of Kelantan if they did not like its leadership and style. PAS rules that men and women be divided in all public places but rarely implements the law in practice. PAS does not storm a bar to arrest and photograph “indecently dressed” Muslim ladies.

All of the above were committed by UMNO.

Fear of PAS among non-Muslims is understandable. Non-Muslims should never expect PAS to sing a DAP tune.

Fear must not be exaggerated, however. Otherwise, fear has turned into phobia, and phobia being unjustified fear is never acceptable.

PAS has made enough of a fool of itself in its heydays. A compilation of the silly statements made by Abdul Hadi Awang can probably fill an entire 100 Gigabyte laptop.

PAS has changed, however. From Abdul Hadi Awang, we now have characters like Husam Musa. From arrogant, narrow-minded religious skull-caps, we now have young, feisty, forward-minded professionals who have demonstrated their willingness to don a Barisan Rakyat or flying a DAP banner.

Has any DAP supporter been seen donning a PAS logo?

I doubt so.

So who’s the narcissistic one here now?

1 comment:

siang said...

PAS leaders keep saying stupid things and keep making a fool of themselves and IMHO they are not qualifed to run a government. They should think before talking.

BN is not much better. They spent Millions of the taxpayer money to sent a model to space as a tourist. While hundreds of orang asli children are starving everyday.

We seriously need leaders who think before they act or talk. Or else Malaysia will be seriously screwed for the next 50 years