PAS sliding down the popularity scale

The Islamic party is taking another hard knock over the controversial Mat Sabu’s remark on the Bukit Kepong massacre.

(Free Malaysia Today) – PAS, which is riding high in Pakatan Rakyat, is fast losing its popularity among the Malays, with the eruption of another controversy caused by its deputy president Mohamad Sabu.

Many Malays who supported the party but are not registered members are shying away from the party as it struggles to keep its position as the only party that champions the Malay and Islamic cause.

Many PAS members on the ground are in a confused state as their cherished struggle is questioned by kampung folk who want to know whether the party recognises the communist insurgents whose ideology was against Islam.

An Islamic party based on Islamic fundamentalism, the party is now being viewed by many of its Malay members as a “mere tool” being used to benefit its partners in the Pakatan alliance, which are the Chinese-based DAP and Malay-based PKR.

Mohamad Sabu, or popularly known as Mat Sabu, stirred a hornet’s nest when he allegedly said the communist terrorists led by a Malay, Mat Indera, were the heroes in the attack on a police station in Bukit Kepong, Johor, during the Emergency in 1950. All the policemen and their family members including children were massacred.

This is not the first time Mat Sabu has put the party in an awkward position among the Malays who support its struggle for an Islamic state. His remarks (which he said were distorted by Utusan Malaysia) on the Bukit Kepong massacre is considered the worse statement to emerge from the party.

‘Mat Sabu a rabble rouser’

“Mat Sabu is not of leadership material as he is only a rabble rouser in the party. However, since the party delegates had elected him as the deputy president, we had no choice but to endorse his position.

‘However, we do not agree nor endorse many of his statements made in his current capacity given his level of intelligence is lower than that of the former deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa,” said a PAS member who wanted to remain anonymous when met during a Hari Raya gathering.

Several PAS members joined the numerous calls made for Mat Sabu to apologise as the Bukit Kepong killings is a sensitive issue that is close to the hearts of the Malays.

They said Mat Sabu should have steered clear from the incident which was recorded in history as one of the many atrocious acts of the communist insurgents in the country.

They agreed that Mat Sabu’s statement has somewhat damaged the party, especially when it is at the forefront in championing the Islamic cause. Support for PAS is eroding among many Malays who have yet to make up their minds on which party to vote for in the coming general election.

“Many Malays who supported us in the 2008 general election have yet to fully throw their support to us as their votes in that election were just ‘throw-away votes’ because they were dissatisfied with the then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” said a PAS member.