Pakatan in dilemma over Himpun rally

If they support the anti-apostasy rally, they will lose the non-Malay support and if they don’t support, they will be branded anti-Islam.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Pakatan Rakyat is now caught between a rock and a hard place. Whether they support or don’t support Saturday’s Himpunan Sejuta Umat rally (Himpun, anti-apostasy rally), they have got the short end of the stick.

If they support the rally they will ostracise the non-Malays and if they don’t, they will be seen as anti-Islam.

The gathering, to be in Shah Alam, is a protest against what has been described as “challenging ” the sovereignty of Islam and this could unsettle the fragile understanding between Muslims and Christians.

Pakatan’s Islamist component party PAS is now split as its youth wing has openly supported the gathering and said it may participate while the central leadership is dawdling over the issue.

PKR and the DAP on the other hand, still reeling from the hudud debacle, are again forced to be diplomatic as the two cannot be seen openly opposing PAS’s stance, especially as PAS was seen as giving in.

Insiders are saying PAS needs the anti-proselytisation Himpun rally to regain lost conservative support after the hudud affair.

But, this once again brings to light the ideological difference of the three Pakatan component parties.

Non-Malays remain wary of Islamisation

Proselytisation is a big issue to the Muslims. The Federal Constitution prohibits it. But what is more significant is if any party is seen supporting it, is sure to lose Malay support.

The raid by Selangor’s Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS) on a church in Damansara on grounds of baptism attempt on Muslims a few months back merely reinforces the existing unease between Malays and non-Malays.

And Pakatan is in desperate need for Malay support but at the same time it cannot alienate its non-Malay votes. Support from the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, was what gave Pakatan and even PAS the political leverage it has now.

Any association with Himpun now would not help PAS rebuild its crumbling moderate image.

Himpun leaders may say their intentions are misconstrued, but with right wing groups like Perkasa on board and their constant anti non-Muslim posturing is not going to help PAS.

Rejecting Himpun on the other hand would subject Pakatan to accusations of being anti-Islam and PAS sacrificing its Islamic ideals for political gains.