“Flood exposed PAS’ true colours as just another self-serving political party”

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy, Focus Malaysia

PAS might give the impression that it is a righteous religious political party. While others pursue blatant material interests, PAS seeks to guide Muslims in the country along a righteous path according to Islam.

While other political parties pay a token respect to religion, PAS seeks to give the impression that it is above such mundane and worldly requirements.

From time to time, since the party is a religious one, its leaders seek to give their views on a variety of matters.

When COVID-19 hit the country, the response of its leaders were simple, uncomplicated and straight to the point. Even its supremo Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang said on a number of occasions that the pandemic was an act of God.

In other words, although he did not say it explicitly, Hadi said it was God’s punishment upon the people.

While the Government was busy controlling the spread of the pandemic with the imposition of movement control order and other measures including the procurement of vaccines, PAS leaders took the higher moral ground by saying that it was the will of God.

Such a position meant, among other things, that nothing much could be done to bring down the infection without God’s intervention.

Rather than guiding its followers to adhere to Government directives in checking the spread of the pandemic, PAS took a different approach of shifting the responsibility to God.

Now with the pandemic being slowly brought under control, thanks to the availability of vaccines, I wonder whether PAS would be able to give credit to research, science and technology.

With that said, as a result of unusual tides and rainfall, parts of Malaysia was recently hit with massive floods. Lives and properties were lost. Many were made homeless.

The Government, given its overlapping jurisdiction and sheer inertia, was unable to act decisively. In fact, there was no Government to deal effectively with the massive floods.

Fortunately, ordinary people sprang to action to save the lives of many, bringing food and other necessary supplies to the victims.

Government leaders such as politicians and civil servants were not there to assist the victims. PAS leaders were nowhere to be found.

Strange enough, the vociferous PAS leaders had little to say about the floods, their causes and who was responsible.

However, as the floods were fast receding, the Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (also PAS deputy president) came out to blame the public for not taking weather forecast seriously.

Strangely, the man who should have been most concerned about the weather and rainfall should have been Tuan Ibrahim himself. As a minister in charge of environment and water, he should have been in the forefront when the floods hit many areas.

But by blaming the public, Tuan Ibrahim was not only being irresponsible but disingenuous. He knew very well how the public, ordinary men and women, scrambled to assist the flood victims. Civil servants head of public agencies and even Tuan Ibrahim were nowhere to be seen.

Yet this high-ranking PAS leader has the temerity and the audacity to blame the public. With COVID-19, PAS leaders shifted the responsibility to God. However, with the massive floods, there was a change in the orientation of the party.

The blame was cast on the apathetic and indifferent public. Of course, the “righteous” PAS leaders were blameless.

Nevertheless, if Tuan Ibrahim has no sense of what happened, then why is he staying as a minister? Shouldn’t he be giving his resignation letter? Needless to say, there is hardly any sense of guilt or remorse among ministers and politicians in the country.

And I understand when the floods hit the country, some ministers were overseas. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob belatedly came with the directive to stop ministers from going overseas or taking leave. But then it was too late as the “horses had left the stable”.

In a nutshell, PAS leaders are no different from other politicians in race-based parties. They might talk about high morals or spiritual ideals but those are for the unsuspecting masses. As far as the leaders are concerned, their relationship with the material world is as important to the religious domain.

PAS, despite its manoeuvring and impressions, is a party that is no different from political parties such as UMNO, and others. While UMNO and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia are race-based parties, PAS combines both race and religion to give “substance” to its extremism.