Lim's initiative to meet these two
controversial leaders is indeed bold. But it is a double edged sword.
These meetings will strengthen inter-ethnic and
inter-religious ties between Muslims and
non-Muslims. Both sides are
likely to learn from each other
and perhaps be more sensitive towards one another's culture and religion.
The meetings would also rebut
allegations that the opposition
front is breaking up.
The negative side is that the DAP is
again taking a big risk. So far, it is
only the DAP leaders themselves who are
saying that the PAS leaders are prepared
to be accommodative.
PAS leaders have not committed themselves to anything; all they
have said, according to the DAP, is they are willing to
have discussions with non-Muslims.
Malaysians should be reminded that not too long ago, PAS leaders
said they were prepared to admit non-Muslims as associate
They even declared their willingness, at one
point, to field non-Muslims as
Of course, nothing of that sort
happened. In fact, upon winning Terengganu,
Hadi's first decision was to impose kharaj on
This was done without any consultation with its Barisan Alternatif component
There is no reason for non Muslims to thank Hadi for his assurances that
Buddhists and Christians would be
allowed to build their own places of
worship. That is guaranteed under the
Neither should non-Muslims be relieved
by his statement that non-Muslims would
be appointed to various municipal and
These are minor concessions by PAS to
get the support of non Muslims for a greater agenda of setting up
an Islamic state, which the PAS leaders have openly stated.
What non-Muslims should ask is whether,
under PAS' Islamic rule, the role and
powers of Parliament will be limited compared
to a council of ulamaks?
PAS may have put on record its readiness
to protect the interests of non-Muslims
but let's not forget that under PAS-ruled Malaysia,
important political, administrative and judicial positions will be reserved for Muslims.
Their argument is that in an Islamic
state, it is only logical that those who
lead, guide and direct the state should
be those who subscribe to their
In other words, the role of non Muslims in various spheres of powers would be limited, at best,
That aside, no one has any idea what
kind of alternative economic system PAS has in mind, particularly the
relationship between labour and capital.
The record of PAS in the treatment of women is also questionable. PAS president
Datuk Fadzil Nor, for example, needs to
be more convincing.
He cannot talk about the lack of women
Cabinet members when his party isn't
ready to field women candidates.
The Terengganu government's decision to
extend the maternity leave of women to
90 days is a minor giveaway.
Unless the PAS leaders are ready to
adjust themselves to contemporary
circumstances, it would never win the
support of non-Muslims.
Neither has the party been able to
project itself as being progressive and dynamic.
In dwelling upon the purported aspects
of material development, PAS will find
it difficult to win the hearts and minds
of non Muslims.
Many liberal young Malaysians who are
willing to support PAS now, in the name
of justice, may not realise the fight by
older liberal Malaysians against the
moves by PAS-influenced students in banning The Alleycats and Sheila Majid from performing in
Many of these students are already active in PAS.
Malaysians will watch closely how PAS MPs
perform in Parliament. Until now, these MPs have confined themselves to issues relating to
If PAS wishes to prove itself to
Malaysians, particularly with the
influx of professionals into the
party, it has to impress non-Muslims.
The fears of non-Muslims towards PAS is real. The DAP, if it intends to survive, had better understand
There is little that the DAP can do to
change PAS; its struggle has been
consistent since its formation that is,
to set up an Islamic state.
Its target audience is clear and it will
not be bothered about how the DAP feels
about its plans.
The DAP's gamble this time seems even
greater as the Chinese community now sees the
DAP as being apologists for PAS,
rightly or wrongly.