When this was what PAS was

The best Opposition Leader thus far (since the 1990s, that is) was the late Ustaz Fadzil Noor. During his time we had a Shadow Cabinet. We also had various ‘Ministries’ in the form of committees: Finance Committee, Media Committee, Health Committee, Education Committee, and so on. I was in fact a member of the Media Committee.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

PAS must progress from ‘just opposing’, says Youth chief

(The Malaysian Insider, 21 February 2012) – PAS must break free from the “opposition cocoon of only opposing” to face the challenges of the next decade, its youth chief said today.

Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi said the Islamic party must also ensure it has qualified members and leaders to be entrusted with responsibility as well as a modern, systematic structure.

“PAS must command policy-making in readiness to govern, not be trapped in the opposition mindset of just opposing without any effective solution,” he said in a press statement.

The opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact has repeatedly been criticised for not having any concrete policies.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has called policy packages such as the Buku Jingga unrealistic, claiming its promises would lead the country into bankruptcy.

Nasrudin added that the party led by former Opposition leader Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang must begin to identify a leadership line-up that is capable of managing the country.

“We must start identifying a party leadership that is capable of taking up the responsibilities of leadership, not just for the party but the nation.”

He suggested that if it is not possible to possess such qualities, then the party could have two line-ups, one to organise the party and another to govern the country.

He also said the party must be “organised and structured so that it is streamlined, systematic and meets the standards of a modern organisation that can address current issues.”


Yes, now the PAS Youth Leader is talking. I said the same thing a couple of years ago but it did not go down well with some Pakatan Rakyat leaders. They took it as a criticism. Any small thing you say about the opposition that is not a bodek they take as a criticism and they don’t like it.

I was then referring to the street warriors such as Tian Chua and those of his ilk. I said it is time to stop screaming and to start getting down to the business of running the states that Pakatan Rakyat is the government. The trouble is, some of these Pakatan Rakyat leaders have forgotten that while they may be the opposition in Parliament, in five of the states (at that time, now only four) they are the government. So they need to act less like an opposition and start acting like a government, at least at state level.

For many of you Johnny-come-lately, in 1999, the Opposition Leader in Parliament was the late PAS President, Dato’ Ustaz Haji Fadzil bin Muhammad Noor (picture above). That was because PAS had the most number of seats in Parliament. PAS won 27 seats, DAP 10 and PKR (then PKN) won only 5. The total came to 42 seats.

Hence the PAS President became the Opposition Leader in Parliament and also head of the opposition coalition, Barisan Alterntif.

In the 2004 general election, DAP won 12 seats. DAP was then no longer part of Barisan Alternatif. They had left the coalition in a huff because PAS wanted to introduce Hudud laws in Terengganu. While DAP saw an increase of 2 seats, PAS was reduced to 7 seats and PKR only one. Barisan Alternatif, therefore, only got 8 seats versus DAP’s 12.

Hence Lim Kit Siang took over as the Opposition Leader in Parliament and, in that sense, Malaysia had a Chinese ‘Prime Minister-in-waiting’ — if we go by the Westminster system where the Opposition Leader is regarded as the ‘Shadow’ Prime Minister.

In 2008, PKR won 31 seats in Parliament, DAP got 28, and PAS 23. The total came to 82 seats altogether.

Hence Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail became the new Opposition Leader in Parliament for a few months until Anwar Ibrahim took over when Wan Azizah resigned and Anwar contested and won the Permatang Pauh seat in a by-election.

The best Opposition Leader thus far (since the 1990s, that is) was the late Ustaz Fadzil Noor. During his time we had a Shadow Cabinet. We also had various ‘Ministries’ in the form of committees: Finance Committee, Media Committee, Health Committee, Education Committee, and so on. I was in fact a member of the Media Committee.

Every year around November, the government tables the Budget for the approval of Parliament. The opposition too would present its budget in Parliament — in one of the meeting rooms in Parliament House where any member of the public and the media can attend and ask questions.

And, more importantly, the opposition would present its budget three days before the government tables its budget and our budget was much better that the government was forced to go back to the drawing board and amend their budget so that they would not be outdone by the opposition.

In the end, the government had to improve their budget so that they would not look bad — and this can only be good for the rakyat when the government ciplak what the opposition is proposing.

Unfortunately, Ustaz Fadzil Noor died on 23rd June 2002 (picture of funeral above) and Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang took over as Opposition Leader. Two years later, Lim Kit Siang took over.

Why can’t Hadi, Kit Siang, Wan Azizah and Anwar do what the late Ustaz Fadzil Noor did? Under Ustaz Fadzil Noor’s tenure as Opposition Leader, the opposition functioned as a government-in-waiting with a Shadow Cabinet and ‘Ministries’. We also had an opposition budget, which outshone the government budget. Ustaz Fadzil Noor turned the opposition into a true ‘shadow government’ and government-in-waiting.

Ustaz Fadzil Noor was an Islamist, no doubt, but a liberal at heart. Even when Anwar deserted the cause in 1982, which broke Ustaz Fadzil Noor’s heart (he told me so when we met up in Mekah that same year) he still respected Anwar. Whenever he bumped into Anwar he would walk over and hug Anwar and spend half an hour chatting. He never shunned Anwar or called him a traitor or turncoat or accused Anwar of being bought off, etc.

It warms my heart that the PAS Youth Leader is now saying that the opposition must not only oppose. That was how Ustaz Fadzil Noor conducted himself. He would agree to disagree and would treat ‘the other side’ as worthy opponents, not someone to be despised and mocked. And he focused on moulding a good opposition that is preparing itself to become the next government. And that was why even his ‘enemies’ (meaning people in Barisan Nasional) mourned his death and regarded his passing as a great loss to the nation.

Yes, I know, I am being too idealistic, you will say. But if that could be done back in 1999 — when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the Prime Minister — why can’t it still be done today?