Practise a Malaysian way of life

The PAS leader’s statement that Islam’s status in the Federal Constitution would be changed from official religion’ to Addin’ if Pakatan Rakyat captures power is the latest example of the party pushing its Islamic agenda without consulting its coalition partners.

It shows that neither the DAP nor even the PKR can control PAS any longer and its acquiesce to its demands, like the statement from Hadi that PAS will implement hudud law if elected to Putrajaya.

Baradan Kuppusamy, The Star

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang needs a quick lesson in history and the best person to give him that is his colleague and fellow traveller in Pakatan Rakyat DAP national chairman Karpal Singh.

Abdul Hadi had told a press conference in Terengganu last week that the status of Islam in the Federal Constitution would be changed from “official religion” to a “way of life” if Pakatan Rakyat captures power in the next general election.

The unilateral statement was also justified by an attack on the Reid commission, which drafted our constitution in 1956, with Abdul Hadi claiming that there were no Muslim members among its five members, headed by Lord William Reid.

As Karpal Singh has rightly pointed, Hadi was wrong on both scores.

Political analysts and political parties, including the MCA, followed suit in severely criticising Hadi for wanting to unilaterally amend the constitution.

The matter was certainly not brought before the Pakatan Rakyat leaders’ council for discussions.

Pakatan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who advocates a pluralistic approach to religion, was noticeably missing in the controversy because Hadi and PAS, while colleagues in Pakatan Rakyat, have an entirely different approach in that they believe Islam is the only true way to God.

On his part, Hadi has always been pushing for more recognition for Islam and its primacy as the only path to God.

“In the world today, people know of two ways to describe the faith: one is what is adopted by the West by calling it a religion, which denotes the spiritual relationship between human and God, without mentioning it as a way of life,” Hadi was quoted as saying after launching the Terengganu PAS Youth annual meeting in Kampung Kubang Lembek, Manir.

“The second option is by calling it Addin the way of life which is more apt as it includes everything, from the spiritual to all other aspects of life.

“It is not right to say Islam is a religion. The right way is to describe it as Addin, a way of life,” Hadi said.

His interpretation of Islam clashes with the country’s multi-ethnic society populated by different races practising different religions.

If an amendment is done it can seriously affect non-Muslims and their way of life which is radically different from that of Muslims.

Although all religions have similarities in moral values and concepts of human justice, their methods and practices differ greatly.

When religion is imposed as a way of life on the majority, the amendment will impact on the rest who practise different faiths and cultures.

It will create many “dos and don’ts” issues like the banning of alcohol, rules on entertainment, dressing and also the intermingling of sexes.

Such amendments will be a recipe for disaster as it can result in the various races drifting further apart and living separate lives instead of coming together into a harmonious, multi-ethnic melting pot.

Hadi also argued that the current definition of Islam as “the official religion of the Federation” did not do justice to Islam and suggested that legislation in this country be interpreted according to the tenets of Islam.

While PAS is under pressure from its Islamic clientele to speak up for Islam, it is also under pressure from its non-Muslim supporters club to desist and behave like PKR or DAP, in wanting to be better than Barisan Nasional at ruling.

Unlike them, PAS is a party that has dreams of creating an Islamic theocracy, something that is unsuitable in this multi-racial society.

This is one reason why PAS is obstinate and unyielding on implementing hudud law and speaking up on many other social issues and the current one to amend the constitution.

PAS’ increasingly “superior behaviour”, however, is a by-product of unquestioning support from the DAP.

It shows that neither the DAP nor even the PKR can control PAS any longer and its acquiesce to its demands, like the statement from Hadi that PAS will implement hudud law if elected to Putrajaya.

PAS has a tendency to declare its Islamic agenda without due consultation with its coalition partners and in doing so, it is impinging on non-Muslims’ right to freely practise their religion and rights that are guaranteed under the very constitution the party wants to change.

Originally, PAS championed an Islamic theocracy but later following pressure from PKR and especially DAP, it changed to championing a welfare state.

Now the party has come up with its “Addin” or Islam as the way of life proposal, with hudud law included.

The motive is to win the conservative Islamic vote but at the same time, try to satisfy non-Muslim voters.