Reject the Qur’an, says Koon Yew Yin


It would be very interesting to see whether the PAS grassroots will do what Koon Yew Yin and those others who have written about the matter have suggested, reject the Qur’an, because this is basically what it translates to.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Koon Yew Yin was probably just expressing what most Malaysians, in particular the non-Muslims, feel about Islam in his article PAS moderates: Break away now, not later published in The Malay Mail.

The current divide in PAS is seen as those who support Anwar Ibrahim going against those who do not support him. That is only partly true. The bigger divide is actually between the Islamists and the Secularists. And this, basically, is what Koon Yew Yin was talking about.

We must remember that the birth of PAS itself in 1951 (at that time called the Pan-Malayan Islamic Party or PMIP) was due to differences of opinion between the Islamists and the Secularists in Umno.

The Islamists in Umno wanted to see more ‘Islamisation’ while the Secularists wanted to see more ‘secularism’. Not all the Islamists in Umno were religious scholars or ustaz, though. Some were professionals who had received a western education.

The whole thing actually started in August 1951. The President and founder of Umno, Onn Jaafar, wanted to open Umno to non-Malays. The party opposed this idea and Onn said if the party is not behind him then he would have to resign.

Tunku Abdul Rahman at first refused to take over (he wanted Tun Razak Hussein to take over) but was eventually persuaded to do so. But Tunku was very much a Secularist who drank, gambled, and attended the horse races every weekend. He did not care two hoots about what the Islamists thought of his ‘un-Islamic’ lifestyle. (In fact, it was Tunku who approved the first casino in Malaysia, Genting).

Three months later, in November, the Islamists all left Umno to form their Islamic party, PMIP.

So now, after almost 64 years, we have come a full circle. Some in PAS want to make the party more like Umno (Secularist) while others want the party to retain the original objective of its creation (to be an Islamic party).

And this is really what is happening here.

The Secularists in PAS are worried about only one thing: how to win the next general election and form the new federal government. The Islamists, as they have always explained, are more concerned about upholding Islam than about winning elections.

And herein lies the difference in objectives. The Islamists and Secularists do not share the same mission and vision. The Islamists want to please God while the Secularists want to gain political power. Hence they can never meet in the middle because the two objectives are just not compatible.

To win the next general election and to get to form the new federal government, it has to be on the platform of Pakatan Rakyat. Unless all three parties work together that can never happen. But if the Islamists push their Islamic agenda, then Pakatan Rakyat will be in turmoil. And that means Pakatan Rakyat is not going to succeed.

In 2008 and 2013, the non-Muslims voted for PAS while the Muslims voted for DAP. That is why Pakatan Rakyat did well. But if the non-Muslims refuse to vote for PAS while the Muslims refuse to vote for DAP, Pakatan Rakyat is going to lose many seats it had gained in 2008 and 2013.

That is the long and short of it all.

Hence the Islamists in PAS need to be ousted, its President Abdul Hadi Awang included, and someone viewed as more secular, liberal or moderate needs to take over. Then this will make the non-Muslims more comfortable about voting for PAS and only then can Pakatan Rakyat have a chance at federal power.

All the non-Muslims want is to win the election. That is all that matters. And if the way to win would be to make PAS more secular and less Islamic then this is what they must do.

The very fact that Koon Yew Yin and those others are using words like ‘moderate’ (positive) and ‘hard-liners’ (negative) is to plant in the minds of Malaysians that the Secularists are good people while the Islamists are bad people. Hence the bad people who are a hindrance to Pakatan Rakyat gaining federal power must be kicked out.

What people like Koon Yew Yin are basically saying is that Muslims must reject the Qur’an without actually saying this. Of course, putting it like that would be political suicide. But the implications mean just that: reject the Qur’an.

And this is something that most Muslims will find extremely difficult to do. Winning elections may be important, but if they need to reject the Qur’an just to be able to win elections most Muslims will not agree with that.

In another three months we will know what is going to happen. Are the PAS grassroots prepared to reject the Qur’an to help Pakatan Rakyat gain federal power?

If Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat were still alive the answer would be no. After all, PAS was born 64 years ago in 1951 because the Secularists in Umno were perceived as rejecting the Qur’an in favour of Secularism.

So now both the Secularists and Islamists in PAS are hitting the campaign trail. They want their members to support either Secularism or Islamisation. In June, the members will have to make a decision as to whether to uphold the party’s original objective or turn PAS into a copycat of Umno.

It would be very interesting to see whether the PAS grassroots will do what Koon Yew Yin and those others who have written about the matter have suggested, reject the Qur’an, because this is basically what it translates to.


 My meeting with Mat Sabu and Mustafa Ali last night in Manchester