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PAS, a party with an identity crisis

Posted: 07 May 2013 01:37 PM PDT

PAS fared the worst among Pakatan Rakyat partners in the 13th general election, effectively losing its hold on Kedah and the Malay rural community.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Islamist party PAS emerged a major loser in the 13th general election, managing to grab only 21 out of 73 parliamentary seats it contested. In the 2008 polls it secured 23 parliament seats.

Despite its confidence, PAS also failed to win any seats in Sabah and Sarawak. Its coalition partners, made inroads securing 12 state and three parliamentary seats in Sabah.

In Sarawak, both DAP and PKR secured six parliamentary seats, contributing to Pakatan Rakyat's overall tally of 89. Sarawak had its state election in 2011 and even then PAS won no seats in contrast DAP and PKR secured 15.

In Sunday's general election not only did PAS bag the fewest seats in Pakatan, it was also the only opposition party to lose control of a state – Kedah. Its allies – PKR and DAP – managed to retain their respective holds on Selangor and Penang.

In Kedah, BN clinched 21 of the 36 seats, wresting control of the state after it had been under PAS rule for five years.

Analysts have said Kedah's return to BN was more due to PAS's incompetence than BN's appeal.

In Selangor PAS's insistence in contesting the Kota Damansara state seat forced a four-cornered fight with PKR, Barisan Nasional and an Independent.

In the end the BN candidate won with 16,387 votes to PKR's 14,860 and PAS's 7,312. Collectively PKR and PAS garnered 22,172 votes for the opposition, more than the BN candidate.

Meanwhile in Pendang, BN crushed PAS' deputy president Mohamad Sabu. He lost the seat by 2,380 votes. Also defeated were vice president Husam Musa. Husam lost his Putrajaya bid by 5,541 votes.

While there were victories for PAS in the 2013 general election, they were far and few.

Although many viewed PAS youth chief Nasrudin Hasan's triumph over BN's Saifuddin Abdullah in Temerloh as "an upset", PAS' win in Kelantan was expected.

But not to be ignored are the inroads BN made in Kelantan. Although PAS won 32 of the 45 state seats, it was actually seven less than in 2008. BN meanwhile managed to wrest Kerteh and Tanah Merah.

Growing disenchantment

All this points to growing disenchantment among Malays towards the Islamic party.

It also means that there is an urgent need for PAS to quickly decide where to go from here.

Since PAS officially allied itself to DAP after the 2008 general election, it has had to compromise its core stances – from an Islamic state to welfare state and from Hudud law to "no Hudud" as stated in the Pakatan manifesto.

This is in contrast to its rival, Umno, which has been free to carry out its Malay-first agenda without protest from allies MIC and MCA.

And Umno's methods apparently work – at least among rural Malays, judging from Sunday's general election results.

The fact is PAS'balancing act of trying to keep both its hardline and its moderate/non-Muslim supporters happy has failed miserably.

A random survey by FMT among PAS'core voter base – rural Malays – found that many viewed with suspicion its alliance to the "kafir" party DAP.

Others expressed their concern that the party was straying from its Islamist goals.

Support for PAS' current direction is as volatile within the party as it is without. Within the party, leaders contradict one another on the Allah issue and Hudud.

Factions exist between the "moderates" such as Dzulkefly Ahmad and Khalid Samad and "hardliners" such as spiritual advisor Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Haron Din.



Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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