PAS – the face and image of a contemporary Islamic political body

PAS dons coats over robes to hone electoral image

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 ― Once known as the party of white skullcaps, turbans and robes, PAS has undergone a socio-political change that has helped sharpen its Islamist credentials in order to stay relevant and acceptable to a plural society.

Several PAS leaders acknowledged the firebrand party had shed its hardline, conservative shell and told The Malaysian Insider they were proud they had leaders who were willing to metamorphose for the sake of the party’s continuity.

“The strength of the leadership of clerics is now supported by the strength of the professionals and activists… this makes PAS respected by friend, and feared by foes,” said Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, executive director of PAS’s research centre.

Unlike other political parties in Malaysia, PAS has been openly religious from the start of its formation in 1951. Decisions within the party are made not only by a central political council but also by its Majlis Syura ― a council of clerics consisting of trained Islamic scholars ― that powers the heart of PAS.

A former lecturer of medical science in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dr Dzulkefly said the changes in PAS have helped the party stay “fresh” without compromising its religious principles.

“PAS has emerged as the face and image of a contemporary Islamic political body and it is refreshing… it is now an Islamic movement that is facing the challenge and brings dynamism to the fight,” said the academic-turned-politician who won public office in Election 2008.

Since last year, PAS, a founding partner in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact, has been seen actively recruiting former senior civil servants and even businessmen. It has also selected some of them to run for public office in the May 5 polls.

Among them are former director of the police criminal investigation department, Datuk Fauzi Shaari, who has been named to stand in the Larut parliamentary seat.

Architect and building specialist, Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad, was also recently named as a candidate for the Kuala Terengganu federal seat. There is also corporate figure Datuk Abdul Rahman Maidin who has been selected for the Tasik Gelugor federal seat in Penang.

The party has also set up a PAS Supporters’ Club to field non-Muslim candidates in Election 2013. Its president, Hu Pang Chow, a Chinese Christian, has been picked to stand in Ayer Hitam, Johor.

“We need to prove that we have qualified candidates to capture Putrajaya,” said PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who added the party would place more corporate figures to clean up Putrajaya.

Political pundits also see the evolution in PAS as a worldwide phenomenon, such as how renowned Islamic organisation, Egypt’s Ikhwanul Muslimin, picked Mohammed Morsi, an engineer, to be its chairman.

“It’s a positive sign to the party, because with a changed image, it’s no longer known only as a party of white kopiahs and ‘jubah’,” said political analyst Asri Salleh, using the Malay terms for skullcaps and the ankle-length loose robes popularly associated with PAS members.

“On the contrary, the participation of former government servants, lawyers, doctors and so on will certainly bring their image into PAS and at once, the people will see PAS’s new image,” said the lecturer from Universiti Teknologi MARA based in Terengganu.

Apart from seeing the evolution that has enabled PAS to be part of the PR pact, Asri was concerned that the metamorphosis would affect the party’s original supporters who had fought for a different policy and goal.
“Maybe their early supporters… during the reign of the clerics in PAS, some would be dissatisfied and will leave the party,” he said.

Asri said that if that happened, PAS would lose its influence and the vote from those early supporters.
“However, it is normal for political parties to change… if Barisan Nasional has its transformation, PAS has its evolution.”

The party’s Federal Territory deputy commissioner, Ahmad Zamri Asa’ad Khuzaimi, said PAS’s openness has caused the people and professionals to choose to be with PAS.

“We evolve but do not compromise on policy… our policy is clear and they who are not aligned to that policy will usually leave the party, but supporters are still loyal to the party,” said the lawyer who is also in the party’s legal and human rights department, referring to several prominent personalities who have left.

“We are open; in fact, the president has also been reprimanded in the congress,” the 38-year-old said, referring to Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

“We are strict and have principles,” he added.

3 thoughts on “PAS – the face and image of a contemporary Islamic political body

  1. The Divine/The Supreme/The One is universal.The star known as Sun is surya in sanskrit and matahari in malay.Different words expressing the same thing or entity.Sri Aurobindo,recorded extensively(and in detail) his spiritual journey.Those who dive deep into spiritual life will naturally will get vision/dreams,and below is an example of the DIVINE THE UNIVERSAL…

    Oct 10,1914

    St. Bismillah placed at the head of the Koran

    The movement of the Siddhi is once again overcoming the Asiddhi. The second & first chatusthayas are being restored in their completeness. The faith that disregards immediate out- ward circumstances, is developing, although still combated by the suggestions of the intellectual environment

    Outward circumstances of the moment have to be understood by the vijnana. But there must first be this general faith that they have all an intelligible purpose & an intelligible sense.


    It is true that they are worked out through the Pranic world by the Dwayavins using conflicting energies, but the Power that gov- erns them in spite of their ignorance & mutual misunderstanding is One, who is neither a passive Being nor a blind Force.

    The only question that remains is whether the immediate guide of the Yoga is the Ishwara himself or a Spirit who errs, the Manomaya Purusha in oneself or a Manishi outside.

    The faith must be that it is the Ishwara, Anandamaya & Vijnanamaya who is the guide, although He still uses the im- pulsions & ideas of the Manishi & not yet the full Vijnanamaya harmony.

    It is the replacement of the mental perceptions & impulses that is the work of the Vijnanachatusthaya. It is because that work is not yet done, that the first two chatusthayas are open to shocks & disturbances through the disappointment of the faith.

    This is why it has always been said that the absolute finality of the first two chatusthayas depended on the fulfilment of the third.

    But the entire fulfilment of the third implies the fulfilment of the fourth and fifth and therefore necessarily of the sixth and seventh.

    Therefore it is an integral fulfilment that is being worked out & this aim prevents the separate perfection of each chatusthaya by itself without relation to the rest.

    Faith & Ananda Brahman are the two keys to the perfect internal state, with dasya as the joining point. Knowledge & Power are the two keys to the perfect external state, with Daivi Prakriti as the joining point.

    note:the terminologies are in sankrit.(anandamaya means the power of delight/joy,vijnanmaya,the power of TRUTH consciousness)imo,the record entry on 14th of Oct,1914 is based on the vision of “bismillah above the quran”.

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