On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Be careful of what you wish for

PAS, he added, would have to  reorganise the judicial system to  make it fall in line with Islamic  laws.

Takiyuddin also said non-Muslims would not be allowed to take  part in policy-making decisions  such as those relating to the Constitution
and the courts.

It means non-Muslims have no  say in
politics, the judiciary and 

Takiyuddin's statement may not  necessarily reflect the party's official

But those who follow the announcements made by party president Datuk Fadzil Nor
and his deputy, Abdul Hadi Awang, would realise that Takiyuddin is
consistent  with the party stand.

If PAS succeeds in setting up an  Islamic
state by next year, most  human rights
lawyers would be out  of a job. These
vocal activists, who  attack the
Government at the  slightest instance,
are strangely silent on the outrageous statements  by PAS leaders.

Moderate Malaysians have reason to be fearful of PAS intentions  because its objective challenges  the very basis of the Federal

It also goes against the spirit and 
composition of the Malaysian parliamentary system where non Muslim
legislators have a say in  the
formulation of any law.

In a PAS-run Islamic state, non Muslims will only have a limited  role in the country's governance   confined to matters relating to  their culture and religion.

Thinking Malaysians, regardless  of their
religion and ethnic background, should be very concerned,  if not disturbed, by what has been  decided by the PAS leadership.

DAP leaders have admitted they  are
disturbed by PAS' insistence  that the
setting up of an Islamic  state be
included in the common  opposition

Parti Keadilan Nasional appears  to share
the DAP's sentiment but is  afraid to
voice its stand for fear of  losing the
backing of PAS members.

These parties to the opposition  front,
however, are not thrashing  out their
differences now. Of immediate importance to them is  forming the next federal government.

Thus, they are more comfortable  talking
about general issues such  as human
rights, freedom of expression and reforms.

Many Malaysians reckon that a  strong
opposition is needed as a  check-and-balance
to the Barisan  Nasional government.
After all,  that is what parliamentary
democracy is all about.

The only drawback is that there  is
always a tendency to over-vote.  In the
1995 general election, the  DAP was
almost wiped out in Penang because the islanders did not  want to see Lim Kit Siang become  chief minister.

The DAP ended up with only a  sole
representative. Even Lim himself was defeated by Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh
Tsu Koon.

Many Penangites, it seemed, later felt that they should have voted  for a few more opposition assemblymen.

Realising the mistake of going  all out
for power, as the DAP did in  Penang, Lim
has said that it was  more realistic to
urge voters to  deny the Barisan its
two-thirds  majority.

But some Keadilan leaders, who  have
tasted power being in the establishment for the last 16 years,  are not keen to make the sacrifices  of the Opposition.

As Lim said, being the head of an 
opposition party is to wear a crown 
of thorns, not jewels.

PAS leaders, too, have walked  along the
corridors of power in Kelantan and no longer want to remain in the

In exploiting the unhappiness of 
Malaysians over the political trend 
of the past one year, PAS seems 
convinced that total power is within their reach.

We have to be realistic about  promises
made by politicians.  Those who want to
vote PAS may  think they are doing so to
check  the Government but if too
many  think the same way, they may
end  up with something they do not  want.

It will be sad to enter the next  century
arguing about superficial  issues when we
should be catching  up on loss time with
the economic  recovery.