On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Reject extremism and politics of hatred

One could have dismissed the protest with  a laugh except that the students had the  backing of PAS.

On Wednesday, PAS Youth chief Mahfuz 
Omar expressed support for the call to ban  the concerts, saying programmes which  could bring unsuitable behaviour must be  stopped.

The MP for Pokok Sena, who had previously espoused freedom of speech,
suddenly  wanted the Government to “censor''
programmes which might lead to unwarranted 

On the same day, the PAS-led Terengganu 
government announced it was going ahead 
with its plans to ban unisex hair salons.

State Executive Councillor Wan Abdul 
Muttalib Embong said hair salon operators  had until the end of the year to comply
with  the regulations or face the

On Thursday, an annoucement was already posted on the Laman Reformasi website
urging students to gather at Universiti 
Malaya for the illegal assembly.

While some may talk about the right to 
stage a peaceful protest, they should be 
made aware of the language used in the 

The message urged students with semangat jihad (holy war spirit) to gather for
the  protest and that andaikan kita
terkorban  nanti, percayalah syahid
menanti kita (if we  die, then heaven
awaits us).

It continued that the protest was necessary because demi maruah Islam,
dengan  darah kami terkorban (for the
sake of Islam's dignity, our blood should be sacrified).

These battle cries can be easily dismissed 
as mere rhetoric but in the wake of a hate  campaign against the Government, this  show of anger should be taken

Members of the Al-Ma'unah deviantionist 
group, for example, had attempted to blow  up the Carlsberg brewery in Shah Alam on  July 3. A similar attempt was made at
the  Batu Caves Indian temple.

Such signs of intolerance and insensitivity 
by certain groups, in the name of religion,  are disturbing.

PAS and its supporters have shown that 
they want to play moral guardians by imposing their values on other

Young minds have been encouraged to  hate
the government in the name of restoring justice and democracy.

Yet, when PAS gained power in two states, 
religious authocracy is imposed on others.

The greatest crime, however, is to help the 
Islamist party become stronger.

The DAP, for example, has tried hard to 
present PAS as a tolerant party purportedly  good for democracy. For the sake of
political  expediency, it has appealed to
the Chinese  community to give PAS a
chance despite the  inherent

At the same time, the DAP has been forced 
to come out with embarrassing press statements to dissociate itself from
the extremism of PAS.

Last week, DAP secretary-general Kerk 
Kim Hock placed on record its objection 
against the call to ban the pop concerts and  unisex hair salons.

Before that, Kerk, the MP for Kota Melaka, had to say the party believed that
the  arms heist was not staged as alleged
by others in the opposition front.

PAS leaders, particularly Kelantan Mentri 
Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, had described the incident as a sandiwara

Kerk obviously understood the sentiments 
of non-Muslims. It would have been political  suicide had the DAP maintained its silence  when the MCA has spoken up strongly.

The strength of the DAP has eroded since 
its partnership with PAS in last year's general election. It refuses to
cut the link despite strong reservations at grassroots level  and even among some top leaders.

The continued relationship will only hurt 
the DAP further because PAS will never 
change its policies.

Some may question the Government for 
linking PAS with the Al Ma'unah group but  no one can deny that the deviants were  strong supporters.

Terengganu PAS has confirmed that one  of
those involved in the standoff was an active division Youth leader.

The Pagoh PAS division of Johor confirmed on Friday that its branch in Kampung
Batu 28 was headed by a Al Ma'unah 
follower. The former soldier had also acted  as a polling agent for PAS in last year's

These admissions have been made by PAS 
grassroots leaders themselves. There is no  reason not to believe the PAS link.

The political trend in Malaysia is worrying 
as opposing sides step up their animosity.

Although the elections have just been concluded, there appears to be a refusal
on the  part of the losers to accept the

Knowing that the Government has a credibility problem, the Opposition has
questioned and planted doubts even in clear-cut 

There is no longer a grey area. Some academicians, who teach students to
question  the Government, readily accept
information  from the Opposition as the

If PAS speaks of a conspiracy theory, then 
it must be so. No thought is given to the fact  that these persons are also politicians
with  ambitions.

The reformasi websites, for example, have 
urged its supporters to take to the streets  again on Aug 4 when the court delivers
its  verdict on the sodomy case against
Datuk  Seri Amwar Ibrahim.

Disenchanted Malaysians should not let 
their emotions cloud their sentiments by 
supporting PAS.

There is no place for anarchy, extremism 
and the politics of hatred in Malaysia.