PAS draws a line in the sand


Having its way is more important to the Islamist party than anything else.

Scott Ng, FMT

Pakatan Rakyat’s marriage of convenience has always been under some form of threat from the inside. After all, as many have observed, there is little common ground between a conservative Islamist party and a fiercely secular, cosmopolitan party. There was always going to be friction between the two, and things have begun to come to a head now that the ulama faction that controls PAS has put it’s foot down and told it’s two partners, but specifically the DAP, it’s my way or the highway.

The PAS ulama council has called upon all the members and leaders of PAS to join its crusade of upholding Islam, a sentiment that is well and good. However, within the resolutions released by the ulama council are a series of statements trained at their more liberal counterparts in PKR, as well as a blistering salvo at the DAP, which has stood in the way of the council’s long-held ambition of establishing hudud in Kelantan.

We have discussed the interplay of political power that surrounds the hudud issue – PAS’ dogged pursuit of the Islamic criminal justice system is not so much motivated by religious piety as it is by the prospect of political power and dominance such a move would bestow upon PAS. It is about taking an idea and making it tangible to allow PAS to burnish its credentials as an Islamist party and gain traction as Malaysia’s premier Malay-Muslim option.

To that end, the alliance of Pakatan Rakyat has grown cumbersome to Hadi Awang and his cohorts in the ulama wing. This is exemplified by the resolution of the ulama council to implement hudud in Kelantan despite any and all objections by PKR and DAP. As one may recall, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has requested that any issue not addressed in the Common Policy Framework not be touched upon by any political party until the matter of Pakatan’s leadership has been addressed. Between that statement and Hadi’s people making the case for him to head Pakatan, it is clear that the ulama council is ready to go to war over the issue.

There is also the matter of the crackdown on the Erdogan faction in PAS. The Erdogans have been reluctant to close ranks with the ulama faction although they have largely remained silent even as Hatta Ramli is embroiled in a conspiracy to remove Hadi from the PAS presidency, a move that does not sit well with certain parties who remain unidentified but have committed an act of unIslamic violence by torching Hatta’s car.

Act of betrayal

The message of with-us-or-against-us has been laid down by the ulama council with a very commanding exhortation for PAS members to close ranks and march to the beat of PAS’ Syura Council. The report of the council’s statement, as published in Harakah, hammers in that it is the duty of every PAS member to show loyalty not just to the party or president, but to the Syura Council as well. It says any move that goes against what is set down by the council will be counted as an act of betrayal against the party.

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