It’s time for PAS to change

Zaid Ibrahim

I’m pleasantly surprised that PAS has selected a businessman rather than an ustaz as their candidate for the Kuala Besut by-election. Just before this, Husam Musa of Kota Bharu was selected to be the election director instead of a Terengganu PAS leader. Both decisions augur well for the party as it shows a practical side that will be much needed if PAS wants to replace UMNO as the Malay/Muslim party of the future.

The problems faced by the people in Malaysia, including in Kuala Besut, and around the world are generally associated with a lack of jobs, housing and business opportunities and gross inequality. The people want to believe that their representatives or wakil rakyat can understand and help them overcome these problems.

UMNO undoubtedly has the resources and the machinery to manage some of these issues more effectively than PAS can. The people know how wasteful and corrupt UMNO is, but they will still vote for the party if they see PAS is unable to at least address these problems or provide reasonable alternatives. The fishermen in Pulau Perhentian will not be impressed by an Opposition candidate who just preaches about the evils associated with UMNO or the rewards in the afterlife. They would instead be grateful for a politician who can offer them the practical support and financial assistance they need.

Kelantan, the bastion of PAS rule, will come under severe threat in the next General Election unless party leaders offer practical steps to improve the people’s lives. Complaining about the lack of monies or investments, or about the tyranny of Barisan Nasional rule in denying them oil royalties will not be enough to hold on to the state. Development is important and economic matters must now take priority in any PAS administration. Those who think otherwise are living in the past.