PAS Just Reached The Spot Where UMNO Started.

No other news, yesterday and today, are HOTTER than the UPSETS in the PAS party elections. Apart from Hj. Hadi who retained the Presidency un-contested, all the other top posts of Deputy President(1 post) and Vice-Presidents(3 posts) were won by those who are NOT from the ‘ulama’ background. The results seem to correspond well with the ‘new ideology’ EVOLVED by PAS over 60 years of its existence, with the final and decisive ‘evolution’ taking place within the last three years.

Starting from an ULTRA-MALAY party which opposed any working together with non-Malays in early 50s, PAS made a sharp turn towards the end of 70s,  to be ULTRA-ISLAMISTS, by taking inspirations from the TRIUMPHANT Ayatollah Khomeini-led uprisings in Iran. By the 80s, PAS fell into the hands of FIREBRAND leaders like Hj. Hadi, Fadhil Noor(the late former President) and Mohamad Sabu(the newly elected Deputy President). The new leadership, with CLEARLY STATED OBJECTIVES of establishing ISLAMIC STATE in Malaysia, then managed to attract waves of young supporters impacted by the world-wide ISLAMIC RESURGENCE , including the Government-sponsored scholars  who  later graduated from overseas universities. The new breed of overseas graduates were infact ‘by-products’ of UMNO-inspired New Economic policy(NEP).

For nearly TWO DECADES after the change-over of leadership to the ULAMAS in ealy 80s, PAS upheld an uncompromising stand NOT TO WORK WITH any parties who did not share its ISLAMIC STATE objectives. Despite a serious split in UMNO following the UMNO Presidency contest in 1987, PAS still refused to have any link with the ‘infidel party’ DAP. However, PAS accepted to work with Ku Li-led Parti Melayu Semangat 46(PMS46), the party that splintered out of UMNO, after the party accepted the concept of ISLAM AS A COMPLETE WAY OF LIFE. PAS and PMS46 formed the Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah(APU), despite PAS knowing well that PMS46 had also formed a coalition with DAP, under the name of Gagasan Rakyat.

PAS moved closer to working with ‘infidel party’ like DAP after the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim from UMNO in 1998, and the formation of ‘reformasi’-inspired Parti Keadilan National(PKN), now Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR). In the run-up to 1999 General Election(GE), PAS were driven by the prevailing political landscape, to work directly with DAP under a loose coalition called Barisan Alternatif(BA). Despite that, PAS had been CONSISTANT in upholding their ISLAMIC STATE objectives, including the implementation of Islamic HUDUD LAWS, which among other things, prescribed STONING TO DEATH for adulterators, and 100 lashes of CANNING for sex outside marriage. Prior to 1999 GE, PAS-led Kelantan State Assembly voted in-favour of implementation of HUDUD LAWS in Kelantan.

The working together of PAS, DAP and PKR in the BA in the run-up to 1999 GE benefitted PAS a great deal. Apart from holding on to Kelantan, PAS also gained grounds in other states, including wrestling Terengganu from the UMNO-led BN. However, the loose coalition between DAP and the ISLAMISTS PAS were not well received  by the Chinese community, who punished DAP with one of their greatest ELECTION DEFEATS for years. Shocked by the ‘verdict’ of Chinese voters, and the passing of HUDUD LAWS in PAS-led Trengganu State Assembly three years after the 1999 GE sparked off  the  PULL OUT of DAP from the BA in the run-up to 2004 GE. The decisive move by DAP helped DAP regained some of its lost grounds in the 2004 GE…but resulting into PAS’s  defeats, including losing Terengganu to the UMNO-led BN.

PAS’s bitter experience in GOING ALONE against the mighty BN must have led PAS leaders into deep SOUL-SEARCHING. Would they continue to go alone upholding their ISLAMIC STATE and HUDUD ambitions and get defeated times and again, OR just abandon those ambitions, at least temporarily, get accepted by the DAP and PKR in the Pakatan coalition, and stand better chances of winning seats in elections.

In the run-up to the 2008 GE, PAS made the MOST DRASTIC move in their nearly 60 years history by deciding to PUT ASIDE their ISLAMIC STATE and HUDUD ambitions, to make way for political partnership with DAP and PKR. To ‘absorb’ possible outcry and opposition from the party’s rank-and-file, the party chose a new slogan, NEGARA BERKEBAJIKAN,  literally means WELFARE STATE, in place of NEGARA ISLAM. PAS leaders argued out that NEGARA BERKEBAJIKAN is the main essence of an ISLAMIC STATE, so can be used to replace the term ISLAMIC STATE. How far PAS’s deliberations were accepted by their rank-and-file, only time would tell. As far as DAP are concerned, they are opposed to an ISLAMIC STATE, but acceptable to WELFARE STATE. Afterall, WELFARE STATE is also the main essence of SOCIALIST STATES…and afterall, DAP is essencially a SOCIALIST PARTY.

To UMNO, there is nothing new about PAS’s NEGARA BERKEBAJIKAN, or WELFARE STATE. From day one of the country’s independence, UMNO had taken on WELFARE-APPROACH, including initial nation-wide programmes to eradicate ILLITERACY and POVERTY. Primary schools, secondary schools, hospitals/clinics and other basic facilities were built all over the country. Infra-structure projects were initiated, like the hydro-electric power generation stations to provide electricity to towns and villages, water dams to provide piped water, and good ports to encourage investments in industries to provide jobs for young people. Those without lands were re-settled in Felda schemes, provided with rubber and palm oil plantations to work on. As the countries got richer, scholarships were provided for students to persue further studies overseas, while more local universities were built, and more private universities and colleges were licenced. The last two decades witnessed the transformation of Malaysia into one of the most advanced developing countries, with 6-lane highways cris-crossing the length and breadth of the country, world-class district hospitals in almost every district in the country charging nominal fees to patients, world-class schools and universities being built, world-class airports, world-class housing projects including low cost housing projects…and a whole range of other facilities serving the WELFARE of all Malaysians.

By announcing during the PAS General Assembly, that PAS is embarking on the vision of a NEGARA BERKEBAJIKAN, instead of NEGARA ISLAM, PAS has indirectly admitted that the party has just arrived at the point where UMNO started its journey over 60 years ago.

In short, in both ISLAMIC STATE and WELFARE STATE visions, UMNO is over 50 years ahead of PAS and are now looking forward to their next MILESTONE, the year 2020, when Malaysia will be a fully-developed country.

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