A split in Pas is necessary for Pakatan’s succesful march to Putrajaya


The unfortunate fact is that there is a formidable force in the PAS rank and file that think along the lines of UMNO on many matters Islamic. 

Kuo Yong Kooi

Putting all the “to Hudud or not to Hudud” and constitutional legality arguments aside, the one prominent point that we need to look at seriously is that the conservative faction of PAS do have a lot in common with UMNO on many hotly debated Islamic themes.

The “Kalimah Allah” controversy is one good example; PAS leaders like the late Datuk Harun Taib from the Ulama Division, Nasaruddin Mat Isa, the former Deputy President of PAS and Harun Din openly stood by UMNO on this matter in defiance of the position put forth by Tuan Guru Nik Aziz.

The unfortunate fact is that there is a formidable force in the PAS rank and file that think along the lines of UMNO on many matters Islamic. The calling for many of the banning of concerts, valentine day celebrations, gay and lesbian rights comes from both UMNO and the conservative PAS ulamas most of the time.

In early October 2013, the late PAS Dewan Ulama chief Datuk Harun Taib called for a review of PAS’s relationship with Pakatan Rakyat in a PAS Ulama meeting in Kedah. Some might argue that the statement was purely a pre-PAS muktamar political posturing for the conservative faction. Seeing many of the statements from the conservative faction of PAS, it is clear that they are not interested in forging a strong relationship with the other component parties of Pakatan Rakyat. Their agenda is Islamic state first which they have clearly and honestly stated right at the beginning.

The Conservatives versus the Progressives fault line within PAS is one of the main causes of Pakatan’s weaknesses in projecting a clear and unified message to the electorate on which direction the country needs to head towards.

In the eyes of a Pakatan supporter, a change in the government first does not seem to be the main agenda of PAS as the current Hudud debate goes. Many non-Muslims have already endured enough extreme right wing racial and religious vitriol from UMNO  and the current Hudud debate is one too many.

Assuming the PAS private member’s bill that is expected to be tabled in June fail to sail through parliament, the rift between the Conservatives and the Progressives forces in PAS will always be there. This rift is a long term headache and hindrance for Pakatan Rakyat’s march to Putrajaya.

DAP and PKR can’t do much about the internal matter of PAS. Some might argue that PKR also has their internal rifts. Although the current internal rift in PKR is very much a personality clash between Azmin Ali and Khalid Ibrahim, ideologically PKR as a whole is still at one with the opposition’s agenda. PAS however is half hearted with the opposition’s aims and objectives. They are ideologically split on implementing Islamic state first or changing the government first.

The only possible solution to this conundrum is for the progressive forces of PAS to make a move and split the party. Once a clear line is drawn, the electorate who wants a change in government will have confidence to unite behind Pakatan’s march to Putrajaya.

A split in PAS is absolutely necessary as the current heightened racial and religious tensions can only get worse. Yes, this might also be due to the lack of leadership from the Pakatan Pact, but PAS Conservatives have been and will always be the stumbling block for a secular Malaysia state.

The sooner the split in PAS happens, the easier it is for Pakatan to recover from this. If there is no split, the point put forth by Ahmad Farouk Musa from the Islamic Renaissance Front will be true, that is UMNO will be governing Malaysia for another 50 years.

The split in PAS can also save Pakatan from potentially splitting. Pakatan might need one or two elections to lick over this wound instead of 50 years.

The messages put forth by Pakatan to the Rakyat after the split will be clearer. The battle against the racial and religious venom spewed by UMNO will be more effective and less confusing as currently the conservative faction of PAS has and will always be the spoiler of the good work done by other opposition Pakatan Pact.

Another important point that one needs to be mindful of is a very possible scenario in future where the opposition wins a slim margin to form a minority government, you can bet your bottom Ringgit that UMNO will play the Hudud card to the conservative faction of PAS to cross over.

So it is better for the progressive faction of PAS to make the move now rather than later.

The question is are there any brave progressive thinking souls in PAS that can lead the way? The person who dares to lead and make this move might be a potential Prime Ministerial material for a peaceful and prosperous secular state of Malaysia in the future.