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PAS leaders come under fire from delegates

Posted: 22 Nov 2013 03:25 PM PST

Sean Augustin and Azril Annuar,

Several delegates at the 59th PAS Muktamar today voiced their concerns and blasted the party leadership over various issues, including failure to step in during the Kedah PAS internal crisis and to raise issues concerning Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament.

Kedah delegate Nasir Zakaria criticised the party's leadership for not stepping in when Kedah PAS faced an internal crisis in the months prior to the 13th General Election and hinted that the crisis was the reason the state was lost.

"We are aware that there are many voices in and out of PAS saying that this defeat must not be repeated. So like the other delegates, we call upon the Electoral Post Mortem Committee to reveal their findings.

"As for our loss of Kedah, there were internal factors leading to it. In a family, children will argue with each other and being kids they can never resolve some of the issues. It's the duty of the parent to step in when things get out of control.

"A father must take quick action to stop things from escalating. Kedah does not want this kind of cancer (internal disputes) to topple another PAS led government. We don't want our constituencies to come under siege (when we are internally weak)," said Nasir.

He also pointed out that to win or regain the rural Malay support, the party must fulfil five criteria, namely integrity, defend the faith, defend the Malay rulers, have local personalities, and show concern for the Malays and protect them.

"PAS only fulfils two criteria while Umno fulfils all five. We are known only for defending the faith and for our integrity. We need to reposition ourselves through greater political education, " said Nasir.

'Sabah, Sarawak important states'

Sabah delegate Datuk Ali Akbar Gulasan also criticised the party's MPs for not taking up East Malaysia issues to Parliament.

"We have requested PAS MPs to speak up on our behalf and take up our issues to Parliament because we (Sabah and Sarawak PAS) don't have any presence there.

"We require their assistance but we have never received any response," he said.

Ali Akbar said PAS divisions in Sabah and Sarawak will receive more support if some of the party vice-presidents include Sabah and Sarawak in their portfolios.

"If you look at our opponent (Umno), they elect a Sabahan as one of their three vice-presidents. And BN has called Sabah and Sarawak as their fixed deposits.

"In this context, Sabah and Sarawak are very important states and PAS needs more strength to seize it from BN. Therefore, Sabah suggests that we divide the vice-presidents portfolios according to region, with Sabah and Sarawak being one region.

"Representatives from Sabah and Sarawak should also be part of the various Dewan and the Central Committee," said Ali Akbar.

Module on party struggle for supporters club

Taman Templer assemblyman Zaidy Abdul Talib urged the PAS central leadership to come up with a module for its supporters club to foster better understanding among members.

While PAS is an Islamist party, its supporters club comprises comprise non-Muslim members.

A "black and white" syllabus, Zaidy said, would not only help explain the party's struggle to non-Muslims but also help them understand the Islamic perspective better.

Currently, non-Muslims learnt about Islam through their experiences and interactions with the Muslim community, he said.

"The module would contain 'dos and don'ts' and list down the sensitivities of the various communities in Malaysia.

"The booklet can be distributed to everyone in the party to give a clearer picture about the brand of Islam practiced by PAS," Zaidy said when met by reporters after debating President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's keynote address this morning.

Zaidy also said the party should increase their engagement with NGOs whose cause mirrors the PAS' struggle, such as human rights of which he said was also found in Islam.

He had earlier cited the party's support for electoral reform group Bersih, which saw a multi-racial and religious participation

PAS, Zaidy said, can help increase support for the party if such initiatives were implemented.

Universal values won’t help resolve issues faced by Malaysia

Posted: 22 Nov 2013 02:46 PM PST

Isma is one of the 17 Muslim groups which had come together as the Muslim NGOs in the UPR Process (MuslimUPRo), and Abdullah Zaik (picture) said the coalition was formed in response to demands made by Comango – a separate coalition of 54 NGOs whose recommendations were officially submitted as part of the stakeholders' report to the UN.

Alyaa Alhadjri, The Ant Daily

The Al-Quran, Sunnah and the Federal Constitution must be maintained as the points of reference for any government policies rather than subscribing to a universal standard of values in the name of upholding human rights.

Islamic NGO Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman told theantdaily that these three considerations, within a Malaysian context, should supersede any "Western values" championed by global superpowers.

"We [Isma] do not see how adopting wholesale the United Nations human rights conventions can help to resolve issues faced by Malaysians," said Abdullah Zaik, adding that the conventions were designed based on Western experiences which are then marketed as universal values.

He said, as such, Malaysia should not yield to international pressures to ratify the various United Nations (UN) human rights instruments as it will only create "more problems" within the society.

Isma is one of the 17 Muslim groups which had come together as the Muslim NGOs in the UPR Process (MuslimUPRo), and Abdullah Zaik (picture) said the coalition was formed in response to demands made by Comango – a separate coalition of 54 NGOs whose recommendations were officially submitted as part of the stakeholders' report to the UN.

Isma and Comango have since been engaged in a battle of words, with the former alleging that there were attempts to undermine the status of Islam in Malaysia through calls for the government to sign the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Comango has also been accused of supporting homosexual acts which are forbidden in Islam, which the coalition had subsequently denied.

When it was pointed out that Muslim nations such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Jordan are already a party to the ICCPR, Abdullah Zaik insisted that there are no "real benefits" to them doing so.

"Each country should consider its own unique situation. Muslim nations are increasingly forced to accept such liberal Western values or risk facing political and economic pressure [from global superpowers]," he claimed.

Malaysia has to date ratified three UN conventions pertaining to rights of women, children and persons with disabilities but with reservations on certain clauses.

Article 18 of the ICCPR states that "everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" and when asked whether Malaysia should instead express its reservation to the clause, Abdullah Zaik insisted that the government should not "compromise" its stand on the matter.

"Once the government decides to compromise [by expressing reservation], there will be future calls to eventually accept the whole convention.

"This is all part of an ongoing Westernisation process," he said.

Meanwhile, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy officer Yu Ren Chung said while Isma and the Muslim groups are entitled to express their views on the matter, the use of state machinery to vilify Comango is a cause for concern.

WAO is one of the 54 endorsees of Comango's demands and Yu said the coalition has been subjected to "outlandish comments" and "baseless allegations" – including through the official Friday prayers sermon text prepared by the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) on Oct 18.

"It is our responsibility to respond to Isma because what they have said are factually untrue. Isma is claiming to speak on behalf of the larger Muslim community when that is not necessarily true either," said Yu, in pointing out that matters of religion should be personal to every individual.

He also maintained the overall concept behind championing for adoption of universal human rights standards is so that every individual will be able to live their chosen life with dignity.

This, he said, is due to the fact that a UN member country will receive technical assistance to implement the resolutions which it has ratified for the betterment of the people.

Malaysia has received over 200 recommendations from UN member countries that participated in the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review process on Oct 24 and the government has until March next year to state its commitments over the next four-and-a-half years.



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