To mark its 60th anniversary celebrations as a political entity with arguably the biggest number of dedicated grassroots members in the country, PAS went back to its roots as a fundamentalist Islamist party with influences steeped in traditions of the fellow Iranian and Turkish Islamist parties.
PAS ensured that the syariah punitive laws of hudud and qisas took center stage at the gathering yesterday to mark the auspicious PAS 60th anniversary celebrations, where some 2,000 delegates attended.
Despite much disdain over the issue among the non-Muslim community, particularly led by political representatives of MCA, DAP, MIC and Gerakan, PAS has pushed ahead with its fundamental desire to have hudud enshrined as part of the syariah court system.
Led by its two famous personalities, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the two devoted a length of their speeches towards defending the concept of hudud.
Their cries of “thou are holier than you” when it comes to hudud probably drown out the voices of Erdogan (progressive) although the group’s leaders, former secretary-general Kamarudin Jaafar, vice-presidents Husam Musa and Mahfuz Omas as well as veteran PAS intellect Subky Latiff were given platforms to recollect their thoughts about PAS 60th birthday.
The audience was seemed spell-bound as the speakers outlined PAS’ history and predicted a future where it is here to stay in the Malaysian political context and with Pakatan Rakyat’s help, they could govern the country federally by next year.
Cooperation with Umno?
There were two common themes raised at the one-day event, which was held at Kepala Batas; the party was founded there in 1951 by a group of Islamic clerics led by the late Syeikh Abdullah Fahim, the paternal grandfather of former premier and ex-Umno president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The first theme was PAS would continue to champion hudud regardless of the level of opposition including from fellow Pakatan partner, DAP, as well as the indecisive stance of the multi-racial party- PKR.
The second was that PAS’ stand that Umno was its arch enemy for now and perhaps in the forseeable future, unless the latter drops its nationalist ideology and embrace Islamist principles as a bedrock of its political struggle.
Nik Aziz, who was a young cleric when PAS was first formed, was asked if PAS would ever make peace with Umno.
The 82-year-old who spoke astutely and reassuringly at the event, said he cannot ever imagine that PAS would reunite with Umno but that, in the future, one may never know.
“I know you (who you are Umno) …,” he said in reference to whether PAS may eventually join forces with Umno, especially with the hudud issue playing in the background.
However, the fact that he stressed was that PAS does not see any political benefit of working with Umno for now, has given rise to the fact that it was opened to the possibility of working with anyone if the outcome of the next general election did not favor either ruling federal coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan.
Do not fear hudud
PAS observer Mohd Sayuthi Omar pointed out that Nik Aziz seems to have grown younger, now that he is insisting on the adoption of hudud in the country despite the persisting obtacles.
Kelantan PAS secretary Mohd Zaki Ibrahim said barring unforseen circumtances, Nik Aziz could continue leading them for at least one more term despite that he may touch 90 in the next few years.
Hadi meanwhile rationalised in his opening speech that hudud laws came from the Almightly but over centuries, mankind of royal and elite backgrounds twisted it to benefit only themselves, in an apparent veiled reference to securalism laws.
“Who are we to question Allah’s laws and his wisdom in passing down judgement,” Hadi said to a roaring applause among the delegates.
Hadi also spoke that hudud can help the Islamic society overcome the erosion of the family institution values and moral decay in the world of globalisation admist the threats of terrorism and extremism.
Later during the press conference, Nik Aziz told the Chinese vernacular media that non-Muslims need not fear hudud as it has nothing to do with them.
He was appalled that Malaysia sanctions the death penalty but does not welcome hudud.
He said that PAS was now known as Parti Islam Se-Malaysia and in the next 60-days, he hoped it would be called Parti Islam Se-Dunia as Islam needs to be accepted globally as mankind’s saviour.
Party secretary-general Mustafa Ali, who by reputation is said to be the party’s de facto leader, however gave the most rational reply to issues of hudud at the tailend of the press conference.
He urged all quarters not to pre-empt the hudud issue as nothing is certain in today’s political scenerio.
“By most accounts, neither BN nor Pakatan can have two-thirds majority in Parliament after the next election.”
Mustafa also said that the PAS-led Kedah government cannot pass the hudud law because it does not enjoy the two-thirds in their state legislative assembly.