On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Courting PAS spells more trouble for DAP

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
party leaders.

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
Federal Constitution.

Neither should non-Muslims be  relieved
by his statement that  non-Muslims would
be appointed  to various municipal and
district  councils.

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.