In ‘Allah’ socks issue, analysts see Perikatan’s restraint as a strategic move to its benefit

 They are letting Umno take the blame for any deteriorating relationship with non-Malays.

Taking a step back and letting Umno Youth spearhead the protest against the controversial socks with “Allah” printed on them may have benefitted Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) components PAS and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, several political observers suggested.

The analysts told Malay Mail that by taking an approach opposite to its strident norm, the Opposition has kept negative attention away from itself while at the same time putting the ball in the government’s court.

“Because what can be more powerful and lethal other than criticisms made by the member party that formed the government of the day?” asked Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Prof Kartini Aboo Talib.

The Institute of Ethnic Studies (Kita) deputy director suggested that by letting Umno Youth take the lead, PN may have believed that the wing could affect the government’s stance on the issue.

Senior researcher at the think tank O2 Malaysia, Anis Anwar Suhaimi, concurred with Kartini’s perspective, and pointed out how PAS and Bersatu’s approaches and reactions have been measured and varied.

“While PAS, through various state-level branches like Johor and Kelantan, has called for legal and societal vigilance and action against those insulting Islam, they haven’t escalated the issue in a highly politicised manner. Their focus has been more on the need for respectful treatment of Islamic symbols rather than leveraging the issue for political gain.

“Bersatu, especially through Armada, has been somewhat vocal. They have expressed concerns about the investigation’s delay and aligned with calls for respecting Islamic values, but they too have avoided turning the issue into a political tool,” Anis said, referring to the Youth wing of Bersatu.

Meanwhile, International Islamic University Malaysia’s (IIUM) political analyst Syaza Syukri felt that PAS has been very careful to not affect the unity fabric of Malaysia, which would help with its political positioning.

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