The party, encouraged by what it perceives to be growing sentiments against the Government, is no longer talking
about denying Barisan Nasional its
two-thirds majority but about forming
the next federal government.
The white moon, green flags are now seen
flying in even urban areas, not just in padi fields.
Confident of securing the Muslim votes, PAS is now trying to win
the non-Muslims votes.
It has even introduced a column in
Harakah, its weekly party publication, on how to conduct discussions with
PAS believes that among the Muslims the
line between its brand of politics and
reformasi has become blur.
At the height of the reformasi euphoria, its leaders carefully talked about justice and human rights.
As their confidence grew, the leaders
have gone back to their original mould,
preferring to talk about their policies
and what they want to do if they form
the next federal government.
Those who backed PAS in past elections
are likely to remain committed to the party.
It now hopes to garner the votes of
supporters of the reformasi movement, even if some do not subscribe to their brand of politics.
It is the same with the DAP and PRM. In
the name of fighting a common cause
against injustice and for democracy,
human rights and a civil society, these
opposition parties are prepared to put
aside their differences and adopt a common platform with PAS.
A coalition of opposition parties will
ensure a straight fight with the Barisan
in the next general election and can even project itself as a viable
But it may not be that simple. It will
be difficult for DAP, for example, to openly tell its members and voters to support PAS.
Unorthodox pronouncements by PAS'
spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat
on the position of women, such as
discouraging them from working and
barring women members as candidates,
have raised eye-brows.
Wanita DAP chief Dr Oon Hong Geok has
gone on record to state the party's
objection to Nik Aziz's proposal to stop
mothers from working.
Strangely, some non-governmental organisations and political parties which have
been the quickest in criticising the
Government have remained silent on the
It is clear that these critics have
compromised their position. They
would be the first to cry foul if it
was a government decision but because the proposal came from PAS, they chose to close their eyes.
It is such double standards on justice
and human rights that have made these
Many of them have lost their moral
standing on many issues. They appear to
be selective in their concerns.
Similarly, when the reformasi movement
talks of cronyism, it sounds hollow
simply because many of the leaders
themselves appear to have benefited from the
system they now condemn.
Many have become super-rich, not because
of their business acumen, but because of their political affiliations.
The local media, they argued, have
blacked out the opposition. At the same
time, they refused to acknowledge that their publications are publicly partisan, refusing to even give a line to the Establishment.
The foreign media is professional and objective, by the standards of the NGOs, because they are critical of the
The local media certainly does have its
flaws and short-comings, we must
admit. But local newsmen remain the best informed journalists, even if
their assessment of the recent Sabah
elections that the Barisan would win was
ignored by many people, including academicians.
That is simply because many whether in
opposition or Government chose to
believe in their own propaganda.
They believe that the silent majority are as passionate about issues as them
but not every Malaysian is pro-Mahathir or pro-Anwar.
Many Malaysians are really turned off by
the reformasi slogans and
Similarly, they dislike the arrogance of some government leaders, who assume they know best.
Huge turn-outs at gatherings must not be
taken as indication of support by any
The majority of Malaysian voters are
taking the middle path. Their main
concerns are paying the bills, the
housing loans and looking after the
welfare of their children. They spend
time with the family during
These are the moderates who understand the need for political and economic stability.
Allies of Anwar have entertained the
idea of setting up a multi-racial
In the Malaysian-context, a multi-racial
party is still dominated by one race.
For example, the Malays dominate PRM, the Chinese the DAP and Gerakan and the Indians the PPP.
Assuming that the new Anwar linked party decides to be Malay based like Umno,
it will be competing for the same audience with
PAS. Inadvertently, both parties
will become competitors.
But there will be more obstacles along
the way. How will a more moderate Malay
or multi-racial party, led by Anwar and
DAP, tell their voters to back PAS to
ensure a direct contest between the
opposition and Barisan.
A vote for PAS will mean an endorsement for PAS' policies. It means a yes for its fundamentalist objectives, which moderate Malaysians in our
multi-racial and multi religious society cannot possibly accept.
The DAP has rejected PAS' objective of setting up an Islamic state but by working with PAS indirectly
through common issues, it is still
helping PAS to increase its
representation in Parliament.
The Westminster system may have its
flaws but moderate Malaysians must do all they can to protect the system.
We should rectify the weaknesses of the system and not tear it down entirely for another system which we are not sure of.
There is a difference between the forces
of democracy and the forces of