11 December 2008

Rift does exist within PAS

Sin Chew Daily

PAS national unity bureau chief Mujahid Yusof Rawa said, other than facing the challenges of ideological struggles between the reformists and conservatives within the party, PAS must also try to woo both Malay and non-Malay voters.

Mujahid, who is also the MP for Parit Buntar, said there were indeed two different factions existent within the party--one interpreting Islam in a more conservative approach while the other holding more open views. He said this had resulted in an ideological confrontation between the two differing camps.

Realistic issue arising from ban of alcohol

Mujahid said the more radical people are the grassroots, who fail to understand that the banning of alcohol will entail some real-life issues, as we must take into consideration the feelings and opinions of other people even if we were to ban alcohol, citing the example of the major controversies arising from Selangor PAS councillors' suggestion to ban alcohol.

"The party is also encountering a certain level of dilemma. While on the one hand we must take care of Malay supporters, we must also look into the needs of non-Malays on the other hand. As such, PAS has attempted to protrude its multiracial image through the setting up of the PAS Supporters Club, and outsiders will have no reasons now to criticise PAS as a political party for the Malays."

Adherence to religious principles,

Mujahid is the PAS leader instrumental in the establishment of the PAS Supporters Club. During an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, he said many PAS MPs, including the MP for Kota Raja Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud and MP for Kuala Selangor Dr Zulkifly Ahmad, have defeated BN candidates mainly because of non-Muslim voters, and they therefore must know how to please non-Muslims.

However he said he would not forego Islamic principles just to please non-Muslims. For example, he declined the invitation from a political leader to sponsor a beer party celebration after his election victory.

Pakatan foundation still frail, Mujahid said, although leaders from the three Pakatan Rakyat parties have signed a joint agreement, the foundation of the opposition pact remains weak, and no powerful unanimous stand has been achieved on many fine details.

He said PAS advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP's opposition leader Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang agreed that the federal constitution has made Islam the country's official religion, and Malay as the official language, along with the statutory status of Malay rulers, Malays and bumiputras, when signing the joint agreement to establish Pakatan Rakyat.

"We still lack some solid substance, a common theme and principles that can be accepted by all, among the three parties."He said, Pakatan Rakyat leaders have only agreed on the major directions, while many grey areas still exist, such as PAS does not agree to the setting up of multilingual road signs in Penang, as this will affect the status of Bahasa Malaysia as the country's official language. However he said PAS still accepted the decision eventually.

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