The Chempaka by-election

A “normal person” has more experience of life and can understand better the people’s problems. Such a person wouldn’t just pray for those problems to go away, but would instead do something about them. 

Zaid Ibrahim, MMO

The state seat N6 Chempaka is located outside Kota Bharu and has been held by PAS for over 25 years. This has been such a long period that, when it was vacated by the death of Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the mighty Barisan Nasional decided it would not contest the seat.

This has nothing to do with any great attraction of PAS as a political party. Rather, it has everything to do with the man — Tok Guru Nik Aziz — a politician who, whilst in power, was not interested at all in accumulating wealth or having holiday homes in London and New York.

He lived in the same house as when he first became a state assemblyman, even after he became Menteri Besar, until his passing. In this context in Malaysia, he was unique and special: Tok Guru Nik Aziz was a political leader who was not interested in material gain.

Without him, PAS will be clueless and have no identity whatsoever, although some will surely try to dress like him and call themselves “ulama” in order to make people believe that the party’s political leadership must be held by one of them. This is the way the Christian clergy ruled Europe from the Vatican for hundreds of years — but the strategy will not work in the present age.

The ulama faction is now running riot in PAS and probably has a slight edge over the more reasonable moderate members, but the ulama are not a political force by any means. If they think that by introducing hudud they can somehow recover their identity and legitimacy, then they certainly do not understand the Kelantanese. We do not want hudud because we are a hard-working people and need all our limbs intact!

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