KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: In a recent interview, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he would not reject the possibility of PAS joining the unity government subject to PAS accepting several core policies and respecting that Malaysia is a multiracial and multireligious nation. This comes after he had spoken earlier about his hopes for “rekindling” a relationship with PAS president Hadi Awang.
While the DAP leadership lapsed into its predictable silence, both Lim Kit Siang and MCA president Wee Ka Siong quickly endorsed the idea. Wee said that “Anwar has the right to invite any political party to join the government” and that no one has the right to question his decision. Lim added that “PAS must demonstrate a change of attitude to show that it supports the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call for political stability and national unity in Malaysia”. He also demanded that Hadi “retract and apologise for the numerous wild and preposterous allegations he had made against the DAP and me.”
What is it with these politicians? Are they so out of touch with reality and their own voters that they would contemplate working with an extremist and utterly racist party like PAS?
When are they going to realise that PAS is fixated on its own agenda – to turn Malaysia into an apartheid-like Islamic state that would marginalise and disenfranchise non-Muslims and non-Malays. Hasn’t PAS been clear enough about what it intends to do when they take over Putrajaya? Simply put, they are an existential threat to our way of life, to everything that Malaysia was founded upon.
It is absolutely naïve, and disingenuous to boot, to even think that PAS can be persuaded to change its DNA or put aside its political ambitions in the interest of national unity and stability.
The mendacious argument that including PAS in the unity government will somehow moderate its extremist behaviour and help turn Malaysia into “a role model for the world for inter-ethnic, inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-civilisation dialogue, understanding, tolerance, and harmony” is exactly the kind of wishful thinking that lulls Malaysians into a false sense of security vis-à-vis the very real dangers that PAS poses.
Instead of discussing terms for PAS to join the unity government, PH – if it’s true to its reformist roots – should be going all out to fight the toxic politics of PAS while reinforcing its commitment to building a truly egalitarian secular democracy in accordance with the vision of our founding fathers.
But of course this won’t happen because the prime minister – aided and abetted by the DAP – hunts with the hounds and runs with the hares. While the DAP plays up the threat of the “green wave” to keep its base in line, the PM quietly works to bring PAS into his increasingly religiously orientated administration. Uniting Malay-Muslim political parties under one banner to ensure their political dominance has, after all, been something of a holy grail among Malay political elites. Anwar is no different.
It is disconcerting that while the country inches towards an Islamic state, non-Malay political leaders continue to compromise with Islamists instead of standing up for our secular foundations. This is what the MCA and Gerakan did for years; the DAP is now following suit.
And how absurd can it get that, when faced with issues of existential importance, Lim would throw in a demand that Hadi apologise to him for past insults? Who cares about the insults politicians throw against each other when so much is at stake?
But kudos to Tiong King Sing for having the courage to state: “The coalition government does not need PAS to join, because many feel uneasy (with PAS), they can’t accept PAS, especially non-Muslims.” That one simple sentence neatly encapsulates the sentiments of most non-Muslims about PAS joining the unity government.
PAS is a danger to Malaysia. The party’s agenda goes against everything that Malaysia stands for; it makes no sense to empower them or further legitimise them. PAS was just a minor party until PKR and DAP embraced them and gave them national prominence. That’s the way PAS operates; it patiently and strategically exploits the gullibility and hunger for power of more secular parties to advance its own agenda. Surely both the DAP and MCA should have discovered that by now.