In push for hudud, PAS risks appeal to middle Malaysia


(MM) – PAS’s renewed hudud bid is seen as the party’s departure from the middle ground, a move that observers believe could cause it to lose the non-Muslim support base it has grown steadily over the past two general elections.

The Islamist party has already lost the backing of its own Pakatan Rakyat (PR) allies DAP and PKR and now has to rely on support from arch rival Umno to push through two private members’ bills in Parliament to allow for the implementation of hudud in Kelantan.

Its own non-Muslim supporters’ wing has also outrightly objected to the hudud proposal, believing that not all within PAS are agreeable to it.

“I am worried about it. The non-Muslims, especially in Kelantan, even though only a minority, do not understand the principle of hudud in detail,” Hu Pang Chow, chairman of the PAS Supporters’ Congress (DHPP) told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.

“Do the grassroots supporters really want hudud? Do they even understand the reasons behind it, besides that its a religious duty for PAS?” he asked.

The DHPP, formed back in 2010, was ostensibly created as PAS’s response to its growing influence among the non-Malays.

The formation of the wing was also part of PAS’s bid to boost its moderate image after the 2008 general election, where the combined efforts of PAS, DAP and PKR saw Barisan Nasional (BN) denied its traditional parliamentary supermajority.

It was also after Election 2008 that PR was formed, forcing together the unlikeliest of political allies under one umbrella ― secularist DAP and Islamist PAS.

Despite its Islamic agenda, a more progressive PAS rose to the fore to champion ideals of democracy, freedom, transparency and good governance along with its pact partners.

The party even fielded candidates from the DHPP in recent by-elections, an indication many observers had remarked as an encouraging sign for a party branded as extremely conservative in the past. DHPP currently has 20,000 members.

Kelantanese-born Hu, who has been under fire by PAS leaders for questioning PAS’ hudud initiative, said the DHPP wants the party to first explain to non-Muslims how implementing the law would improve existing economic and social conditions before pressing ahead with it.

The current reasons given were very “superficial” at the moment, he said.

“We are a political party. At the end of the day,we know what PAS is about, its struggle is based on Islam. But PAS leaders are only looking at matters from one angle, religion.

“There is also a political repercussion from this, all the party’s good work with breaking barriers with the non-Malays, non-Muslims, they have to address this,” he added.

Hu reminded PAS that it would not have won its parliamentary and state seats in 2013’s general election with just the support from the Malay community.

“We need support from all races to win, Umno realises this, so must PAS…please, get proper feedback before you rush through with this,” he said.

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