Are you still afraid of PAS? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, June 01, 2020
Malaysiakini : "Play with matches, you get burned - Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction)
COMMENT | PAS information chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad is neither a religious nor an ignorant fool when he suggested suspending
the sale of alcohol. He knows exactly what he is doing. For instance,
the banning of cinemas in Kelantan to curb “social ills” has done
nothing of the sort.
Former minister Zaid Ibrahim once said that the social ills in Kelantan, styled by PAS as the “Verandah of Mecca”, had been admitted by the party’s leaders when they defended the need for public caning.
social ills was never the intention and I wish people would stop
propagating this narrative. The intention is imposing order on the
majority Muslim population. For proponents of this kind of Islam, the
suffering that happens here on Earth is merely a prelude to a better
afterlife, if you adhere to dogma.
This is why Abdul Hadi Awang muses that only hell awaits
if non-Muslims lead. It also why some Muslims believe (as promulgated
by the likes of Zakir Naik), that cruel, even corrupt Muslim leaders,
are better than honest non-Muslim leaders - “Don’t ever take the infidel
West as an example, because the best of them will still end up in hell,
since their kindness is without any faith to Allah and the End Times,”
The intention has always been to religious dogma
as the first and last word for curbing personal and collective freedoms.
This is not about finding solutions to societal problems; this is about
imposing a belief system, regardless of societal issues.
Of course, this value system does not translate to the nomenklatura of
PAS. Any excess if and when discovered is justified by some obscure
religious passage or phrase. Living the good life. Well, even the
Prophet rode the best camel.
And if you are a poor Malay
Muslim and you ask why your leaders are living in luxury, well the
answer is simple as Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Abdullah (below) explained
about how a governor justified living the good life during the
Prophet’s time: “Therefore, he added, the governor needed to display the
greatness of a Muslim leader as well.”
after having imposed orders on the Muslim population, it is the turn
for the non-Muslims. Never mind the economic fallout from the imposition
of such a suspension (on the sale of alcohol), for the black market
trade already in place. The mere mention of it is to instil fear, to
demonstrate the power – governmental and social – of the religion of the
It is the oldest trick in the book. Spin class problems into a religious dialectic. That is the agenda of PAS.
is the counter agenda of the supposed progressive alliance? The choice
we are told is between fascist state religion and secular progressive
society. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that a progressive choice
is available in Malaysia. Instead, there have been red herrings for
changing governments – a corrupt Umno potentate when there have always
been corrupt Umno leaders – and dubious alliances with supposedly
reform-minded religious-political operatives.
You cannot claim
that you want Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, to be
“Malaysian” first and at the same time promote the religious agenda of
Muslim political cabals. These religious cabals, whether the friendly
faces of Amanah, the race-based realpolitik of Bersatu or the Umno-PAS
union, have one thing in common – they all claim ownership in one way or
another of Islam in this country. You cannot hitch your wagon to any
one of these cabals and at the same time fool your base into thinking
that secular values trump religious imperatives.
Think about this
for a moment. The claim that Umno uses Islam to divide the country is
exactly what pro-establishment Islamists say about Pakatan Harapan. When
you favour one narrative, one experience over the other, you are by
definition making a stand, choosing a side and playing to the Islamic
divisions in this country. It really does not matter if you think the
side you have chosen is “correct” in their interpretation of Islam,
especially when there is no evidence to support such a proposition.
since May 9, there have been consistent moves by religious extremists,
the crypto Islamists within Harapan, the Malay far right and the
religious bureaucracy to undermine the secular values in this country.
is no such thing as a “moderate” Islamisation process, despite what
some moderate Muslims claim. Attempts to make such claims should rightly
be viewed with suspicion by rational thinking Malaysians. Non-Muslim
politicians should not take sides in Muslims divisions and if they have
to align with Muslim cabals, they should make their stand clear as to
their secular agendas, and their belief that all Malaysians are equal,
despite what some religious trendsetters claim.
Liew Chin Tong
talks about the “purists” and “mainstreamers” as if there is an
ideological difference between the two. There is no ideological
difference and there is no empirical evidence to support such a claim.
What there is evidence of, is that the latter are willing to work with
non-Muslim political parties and for a time forgo their religious
rhetoric, if not agenda, while the former would rather work with
like-minded partners to achieve power. And the two are not mutually
When you fund the religious bureaucracy, when you fund
religious schools and when you make statements (that a secular party
should not) that the DAP (for example) supports Islamisation
based on the Constitution, what you are really doing is continuing the
narrative that PAS and the mainstream Malay establishment want to
continue to ensure they maintain a religiously submissive majority.
is saying, certainly not me, that Harapan should ditch the religion of
the state, but what I have always argued is that Harapan has no real
religious narrative that could be translated to a policy which is
different from the agents of the fascist state. And this is dangerous
for Malaysians who believe that their public and personal spaces need to
We get all these articles demonising PAS, especially
by non-Muslim political operatives, but nary an article about how
reformist ideas or egalitarian ideas, which are supposed to be the basis
of Islam (as many folks in Harapan tell us), would be part of the
The supposed secular and progressive alternative
does not care about “moderate” Muslims. All they care about is not
spooking the Malays, which is funny because the lives of young
progressive Muslim politicians – and yes I am including Umno and Bersatu
political operatives – have very little to do with the lives of young
disenfranchised Muslims, who supposedly make up the base.
as far as grassroots go, young PAS political operatives have more
interactions with young working-class Malays in terms of religious
interventions and moral policing through various federal and state
propaganda organs. The irony, of course, is that this happens in Harapan
controlled states. Go figure.
As a long time PAS friend, who is
still convinced that I will see the light before I pass on, told me
recently: “It is too late, even if we (PAS) lose, we win.”